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Posts tagged "US House Of Representatives"

h/t: George Zornick at The Nation

From Sen. Patty Murray (D)’s Official Senate Page:

Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) will introduce the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” said Senator Murray. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period. I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care and their own bodies.”

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives. Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical health services,"said Senator Udall. ”My common-sense proposal will keep women’s private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn’t be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”

“With this bill, Congress can begin to fix the damage done by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow for-profit corporations to deny their employees birth control coverage. The Supreme Court last week opened the door to a wide range of discrimination and denial of services. This bill would help close the door for denying contraception before more corporations can walk through it,” said Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  ”As the nation’s leading advocate for women’s reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to making sure women can get the no-copay birth control benefit that we and others fought so hard to pass and protect. No woman should lose access to birth control because her boss doesn’t approve of it.” 

"Last week, we heard a collective gasp across the country as Americans everywhere tried to make sense of five male Justices on the Supreme Court deciding that our bosses could have control over our birth control in the Hobby Lobby decision,” said Ilyse Hogue, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Today, we hear those gasps turn to cheers as we see champions in Congress move to right this wrong. Ninety-nine percent of American women use some form a of birth control in our lifetimes, and all medical experts agree that these remedies should be included in comprehensive healthcare. Anything less than this amounts to discrimination against women in the workplace. If there’s one thing we can agree upon more than the idea that politicians aren’t equipped to decide for us how and when and with whom we have families, it’s that our bosses are even less so. This bill is the first step in making sure those personal healthcare decision stay where they belong — in the hands of the women whose lives are affected.”

“This critical legislation will protect women’s health care services guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and safeguard their rights,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center. “Women have worked for and earned the right to have their health needs covered—just as men do.  This legislation makes it unmistakably clear that businesses, in the name of religion, can neither discriminate against their female employees nor impose their religious beliefs on them.  Bosses should stick to what they know best—the board room and the bottom line—and stay out of the bedroom and exam room.”

Senators Murray and Udall were joined in introducing the legislation today by: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Timothy Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Carl Levin (D-MI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Harry Reid (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), John Walsh (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

In January, Senator Murray led eighteen other Senate Democrats in filing an amicus brief in support of the government’s position in the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. The brief filed by Senator Murray and her colleagues provided an authoritative account of the legislative history and intent underlying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Senators urged the Supreme Court to reverse the Tenth Circuit’s expansion of RFRA’s scope and purpose as applied to secular, for-profit corporations and their shareholders seeking to evade the contraceptive-coverage requirement under the ACA.

Senator Udall decried the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to allow some employers to refuse to cover contraception as part of employees’ health insurance policies and vowed to introduce legislation to restore Americans’ freedom to make their own health care decisions without corporate intrusion. A longtime champion for Colorado women’s access to affordable health care, Senator Udall has fought to expand access to preventive health care services for women and has championed women’s rights to make their own health care decisions.

Read full bill text here

h/t: Esther Yu-Hsi Lee at Think Progress Immigration

thepoliticalfreakshow:

“I want a House Leadership team that reflects the best of our conference. A leadership team that can bring the Republican conference together,” Labrador, first elected to the House in 2010, said. “A leadership team that can help unite and grow our party. Americans don’t believe their leaders in Washington are listening and now is the time to change that.”

Labrador’s entrance adds some competition to the race after some McCarthy challengers either declined a run (Rep. Jeb Hensarling) or abandoned one (Rep. Pete Sessions).

He has been pushed as a McCarthy alternative by tea party members like Justin Amash (R-MI) and outside conservative groups like FreedomWorks.

Source: Dylan Scott for Talking Points Memo

Just days after Rep. Eric Cantor was ousted in a Republican primary, right-wing media are outraged at the ideological credentials of his likely replacement as House majority leader. Conservatives are calling Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “dimwitted,” “pro-amnesty,” and “just another in a long line of big spenders who thinks the Democrats in charge of government are the problem, not government itself.”

The Washington Post reported that McCarthy is the “overwhelming front-runner” to be the majority leader after he “appeared to have consolidated ranks in almost every corner of the House GOP caucus and seemed well positioned to win next week’s snap election to succeed Rep. Eric Cantor.” The Los Angeles Times similarlyreported McCarthy “is all but assured of becoming the next House majority leader.”  

Cantor has endorsed his “dear friend” McCarthy, stating: “He’d make an outstanding majority leader, and I will be backing him with my full support.”

But the prospect of McCarthy replacing Cantor has drawn strong condemnation from conservative pundits, including radio hosts Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham, who campaigned against Cantor.

On his June 10 broadcast, radio host Mark Levin said Republicans need “a conservative in that slot, not that dimwitted McCarthy.” On June 12, Levin said that McCarthy has positions that “are identical to Cantor’s and Boehner’s. He’s a moderate Republican, he’s pro-amnesty. He was the Republican whip. Do you know what the Republican whip means? It means whip them into line. Whip the votes into line. He not only went along with [House Speaker John] Boehner and Cantor on all these issues, but he was the enforcer.” Levin also tweeted, “House GOP learned nothing from Cantor defeat; pushing disastrous McCarthy for majority leader.”

Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham said on the June 11 edition of Fox & Friends that McCarthy is “kind of joined at the hip” with Cantor and Boehner on immigration reform. She added that if “they put Kevin McCarthy in there, I think they’re creating more problems for themselves.” On her radio show on June 12, Ingraham said McCarthy “is more out there on immigration reform, I think, coming from California too, than Eric Cantor was. So if you loved Eric Cantor, you’re going to just — you’re going to have a man crush on Kevin McCarthy. That’s going to work out really well for us.”

Erick Erickson wrote a June 11 RedState post headlined, “Not McCarthy.” The Fox News contributor wrote that “McCarthy is not very conservative and, for all of Cantor’s faults, lacks Cantor’s intelligence on a number of issues. Lest we forget, McCarthy had several high profile screw ups as Whip and has not really seemed to ever improve over time.” In another post called “The Stupid Party,” Erickson wrote that McCarthy “is just another in a long line of big spenders who thinks the Democrats in charge of government are the problem, not government itself.”

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein wrote that if “Republicans respond to the shocking primary defeat of Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., by elevating his handpicked successor Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., it would be beyond tone-deaf. It would be pure absurdity.” Klein went on to complain that McCarthy “voted for a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that included spending that was unrelated to providing emergency aid, fought for the farm and food stamp bill, fought reforms to the federal sugar program, and backed an extension of the corporate welfare agency known as the Export-Import Bank.”

Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor tweeted that “GOP picking McCarthy shows DC elites are not serious about listening to grassroots. They need to lose more elections” and ”#GOP desperate to lose base by backing McCarthy. #tonedeaf.”

Conservative blogger Jim Hoft tweeted on June 11: “Death Knell: @EricCantor says he will support Kevin McCarthy for Majority Leader - No Thanks.” 

H/t: Eric Hananoki at MMFA

h/t: Eric Lach at TPM

thepoliticalfreakshow:

WASHINGTON — Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, will resign his leadership position within weeks, according to leadership aides. The move follows a stunning defeat in a primary election Tuesday in which voters rejected him in favor of a more conservative candidate.

The move culminated a precipitous fall for Mr. Cantor, who was thought to be a likely successor to Speaker John A. Boehner.

By stepping down as majority leader, an aide to Mr. Cantor said, he hoped to limit a festering struggle within the House Republican caucus over who would assume his post.

Mr. Cantor attended a meeting with other members of the leadership Wednesday morning in advance of a larger meeting of Republican members set for 4 p.m. He definitively told aides and other Republican leaders that he would not mount a write-in campaign this fall against the Tea Party candidate, David Brat, who defeated him soundly in the Virginia Republican primary.

He declared, “To run a write-in campaign is to run not as a Republican, and I am a Republican,” according to witnesses who were at an extended leadership meeting in the Capitol.

Continue reading the main story

GRAPHIC

Where Eric Cantor Won and Lost

Map of the results and charts of his margins in previous elections.

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 OPEN GRAPHIC

Top House Republicans called a 4 p.m. meeting of all Republican members as the scramble to remake the Republican leadership swung into high gear just hours after Mr. Cantor’s surprise defeat. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 3 Republican, made it clear he will seek Mr. Cantor’s soon-to-be-vacant No. 2 slot. But he will be challenged by Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, the House Rules Committee chairman.

Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois, Mr. McCarthy’s chief deputy whip, will square off against Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, for Mr. McCarthy’s House majority whip position.

But other wild cards are looming. Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, publicly thanked House colleagues for encouraging him to join the leadership race.

“There are many ways to advance the causes of freedom and free enterprise, and I am prayerfully considering the best way I can serve in those efforts,” he said.

Other potential challengers include Representatives Tom Price and Tom Graves of Georgia.

The contest between Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Sessions will tug hard at the Tea Party class of 2010.

Mr. Sessions headed the National Republican Congressional Committee the year of the Tea Party wave, and he enters the leadership race with the large Texas delegation behind him.

But Mr. McCarthy headed candidate recruitment in 2010. He pushed to expand the electoral map into long-held Democratic districts, pursued unusual candidates that he believed fit the newly drawn districts of 2010, and crisscrossed the country on their behalf. He also brings his own large whip operation to the race to counter the Texans.

House Republicans said the longer the fights fester below the surface, the more chance the campaigns could turn ugly and spread, sweeping in other targets, even Speaker John A. Boehner. One senior House Republican said, the party “can’t have a leadership race muddle all that we do until the November election,” and he encouraged leaders to make sure the races wrap up before the July 4 recess.

Another member said the faster the races can be run, the better the chance Mr. McCarthy has to become majority leader – and Mr. Cantor wants to smooth his advance. Otherwise, he added, “chaos could rein.”

At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, the head of a conservative legal group may have misled the committee when he said that he does not support the implementation of Russian-style antigay laws in the United States.

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States” to study the rise of “religious freedom” laws in some U.S. states, under which people of faith cannot be compelled to perform their jobs or provide goods and services if to do so would conflict with their personal beliefs.

Critics of these laws argue that they mimic the crop of antigay laws that have been passed in countries like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria, laws that criminalize same-sex relationships and outlaw the positive portrayal of anything other than heterosexual, monogamous relationships.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) asked Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, “There are certain antigay laws they have in Russia. You, I believe, have advocated for something similar to that, have you not? Do you support the Russian antigay laws?”

Staver replied, ”What I am concerned about is having people of Christian, uh, Judeo-Christian beliefs be forced to participate in a ceremony or an event that celebrates something that is contrary to their religious beliefs.”

“Okay,” said Cohen, “so you’re not in favor of the Russian antigay laws and what I read was wrong?”

“I don’t know what you read,” Staver said. “I haven’t spoken on the Russian laws.”

However, Right Wing Watch reported in January that Staver and the Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber both voiced their support for anti-LGBT laws like those in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria during an edition of their “Faith and Freedom” radio show.

Staver advocated for anti-same-sex marriage laws like those in other countries, saying, “What Nigeria has done by reaffirming marriage as between one man and one woman is what a number of countries are doing around the world. They’re reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman. Russia is one of those countries recently that did that. Latin American countries have reaffirmed marriage as one man and one woman. Then other countries around the world are reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman and rejecting this radicalized homosexual agenda.”

Barber agreed, “This is a very dangerous lifestyle that countries like Russia are, in addition to reestablishing and saying no, marriage is what it’s always been, they’re saying additionally we are going to stop this homosexual activist propaganda from corrupting children in our nation and we need to see that right here in the United States.”

h/t: David Ferguson at The Raw Story

Dark Horse candidates that I’d also wager: Tim Huelskamp, Marsha Blackburn, Todd Rokita, and/or Jim Bridenstine could be considered for leadership roles. 
h/t: Lauren French and John Bresnahan at Politico

WOW! A major upset. 

H/T: Alan Suderman at Huffington Post, via AP

Both Allen West and Tammy Duckworth served in the military; however, West disgraced our nation’s military by behaving in a dishonest manner as he almost got court martialed. 
Duckworth, OTOH, is a REAL hero who served to protect our freedoms. 

This is eerily reminiscent of how soon-to-be retiring Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss degradingly smeared the then incumbent Max Cleland in an ad back in the 2002 elections. 

Fox News has finally succeeded in convincing House Republicans to establish a select committee on Benghazi, a move it has hyped for more than eighteen months. The network has celebrated in classic Fox style: by reviving a host of debunked Benghazi myths and patting itself on the back for its political influence.

On May 2, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he would call for a vote in the House “to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.” Fox figures were quick to brag about their role in the creation of the select committee and their unrelenting coverage of the 2012 attacks, which most recently included a misguided attempt to turn an innocuous email by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes into the new “smoking gun” that proved the Obama administration covered up the truth about the attacks in Benghazi.

Boehner announced on May 9 the six GOP lawmakers who will join Republican Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina on the select committee: Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Martha Roby of Alabama, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. The Speaker even commemorated the announcement with this tweet:

Boehner tweet

Fox’s calls for a select committee long precede the latest manufactured scandal du jour. The network’s promotion of a select committee dates to as early as November 2012 and has continued ever since, unabated by the numerous investigations and hearings on Benghazi already completed. 

h/t: Justin Berrier, Coleman Lowndes, and Samantha Wyatt at MMFA 

Ugh. The GOP’s going all out on #Benghazi.

As media outlets focus on Republicans’ select committee to investigate Benghazi, attention has centered on chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Throughout the right-wing campaign to scandalize the tragedy in Benghazi, Gowdy has used the media to push dishonest claims about the administration’s response to the attack. 

Myth: Assets Could Have Been Deployed To Save Americans In Benghazi

Myth: Obama Administration Pushed A Lie That Attacks Were Caused By An Internet Video

Myth: No One Knows Where Obama Was During Benghazi

Myth: Accountability Review Board Convened To Insulated Clinton

Rep. Trey Gowdy Tapped To Lead Select Committee To Investigate Handling Of Benghazi Attack

Washington Post:  Rep. Trey Gowdy Named Head Of New Benghazi Select Committee. On May 5, the Washington Post reported that Speaker of the House John Boehner tapped Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to lead a new committee specially formed to investigate the administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi and its aftermath:  

As widely expected, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday announced that Rep. Trey Gowdy will lead a newly-formed select committee to investigate the State Department’s handling of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya.

"Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come.  His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel," Boehner said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

"I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration.  I plan to ensure he and his committee have the strongest authority possible to root out all the facts.  This is a big job, but Rep. Gowdy has the confidence of this conference, and I know his professionalism and grit will earn him the respect of the American people." [The Washington Post5/5/14]

Gowdy Has A History Of Using Fox News To Push Debunked Benghazi Myths

Myth: Assets Could Have Been Deployed In Time To Save Benghazi Victims

Gowdy: The Claim That Assets Could Not Be Deployed In Time “Defies Logic.” On the May 7, 2013 edition of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, Gowdy rejected the State Department Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) determination that military assets could not have been deployed to Benghazi in time to save the victims:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Mark Thompson is also another person who will be testifying. Who is he? And what are you looking for from him?

GOWDY: Well, what we want to know from Mr. Thompson is whether or not there were assets that could have been deployed during the siege. Keep in mind the initial attack, and then there was an interim and there was another attack, and there was a third attack. Could assets have been deployed during the siege that would have saved Ty Woods and Glen Dougherty.

Keep in mind, the administration says we couldn’t have got there in time which defies logic because they had no idea how long the attack was going to last. But Mr. Thompson will shed light on the middle part and whether or not our fell le Americans were crying for help and we could have helped them and for whatever reason chose not to. [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 5/7/13, accessed via Nexis]

Fact: Military Experts Agree That Assets Could Not Have Responded In Time

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: Military Did Not Intervene In Benghazi Because Attack Was “Over Before We Had The Opportunity To Really Know What Was Happening.” In an October 25 article, CBS News and the Associated Press reported that Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that the U.S. military “was prepared to respond” to the Benghazi attack “but did not do so because it lacked what he called ‘real-time information.” The article quoted Panetta as saying, “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on … (We) felt we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” Panetta also told reporters, “It was really over before we had the opportunity to really know what was happening.” [CBS/Associated Press, 10/25/12]

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Criticized “Cartoonish Impression Of Military Capabilities And Military Forces" In Benghazi Coverage. During a May 12, 2013 interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates explained:

So, yes, ma’am, you will hear a lot about Ambassador Rice being the last person on the planet who thought a video had something to do with this attack. [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 5/7/13, accessed via Nexis]

Deputy Chief Of Mission In Benghazi: Additional Reinforcements Would Not Have Been Able To Get To Benghazi Before The Second Attack Was Concluded. In an interview, Former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya Gregory Hicks said that a flight that special forces were scheduled to take, but did not, would have taken off after 6:00 a.m., local time — approximately 45 minutes after the attack at the CIA annex that killed two people. [Media Matters, 5/7/13]

Myth: Obama Administration Pushed A Lie That Attacks Were Caused By An Internet Video

Gowdy: Administration Pushed “False Narrative” That Attack Was Caused By Video. During his May 7, 2013 On the Record interview, Gowdy claimed that the Obama administration knew the Benghazi attacks were not the result of an internet video but still pushed a “false narrative” that they were (emphasis added):

VAN SUSTEREN: You know the one thing that still isn’t clear in my mind, maybe it is in yours and everybody else’s, why in the world Ambassador Susan Rice went out with the statement and videotapes and the president continued to carry that song on beyond her statements on the five Sunday shows. In tomorrow’s hearings do you expect to develop questions or whether there be a witness to develop at least why we heard that video thing, because it never made much sense to me?

GOWDY: Yes, ma’am. I can tell you that I am partly responsible for that line of questioning, and I have been working on it for two weeks now. You are going to know that she was demonstrably false. You are going to know that she was the only person that held on to that narrative even after everyone else win away from it. And importantly, Greta, what you are going to hear is that this cover-up, her choosing to rely on those false talking points about the video, impeded and obstructed our ability to get at what happened in Benghazi. The bureau was denied access to the crime scene as a direct result of her adherence to this false narrative that it was a video.

So, yes, ma’am, you will hear a lot about Ambassador Rice being the last person on the planet who thought a video had something to do with this attack. [Fox News, On the Record, 5/7/13, accessed via Nexis]

Gowdy: President Obama ”Perpetuate[d] This Mythology” That Attacks Were Result of Video. On April 3, Gowdy appeared on Fox’s The Kelly File to claim the Obama administration knowingly lied about the Benghazi attacks being caused by an internet video:

And what I find interesting about Mike Morell’s testimony is in the State Department e-mail where they call it Islamic extremism. That is the cause that they cited of the attack. Nothing about a video.

No one on the ground in Benghazi mentioned a video. So for the president to perpetuate this mythology on the eve of an election and frankly Susan Rice continues to refuse to apologize for misleading our fellow citizens. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 4/3/14, accessed via Nexis]

Fact: Best Available Intelligence At The Time Linked Video To Attacks

Senate Select Committee On Intelligence: Intel Reports Linked Inflammatory Video To Benghazi Attack. A Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that ”intelligence suggests” that the Benghazi attacks were “opportunistic,” rather than a “coordinated plot” and may have been linked to the violent protests that were erupting around the region in response to an inflammatory anti-Muslim video:

It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attacks or whether extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. Some intelligence suggests the attacks were likely put together in short order, following that day’s violent protests in Cairo against an inflammatory video, suggesting that these and other terrorist groups could conduct similar attacks with little advance warning. [Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 1/15/14]

Former CIA Acting Director Believed At The Time Video Might Have Motivated Attack. Former CIA acting director Mike Morrell has testified that the CIA chief of station in Libya believed at the time that the anti-Muslim video might have motivated the attackers. [The Daily Beast, 4/2/14]

Slate’s Dickerson: Emails Show “White House Believed The Story They Were Pushing.” Slate chief political correspondent John Dickerson wrote that while the newly released documents “clearly show that the White House pushed the video story,” they also show “proof that the White House believed the story they were pushing.”  As he explained, the White House assessment tallied with the CIA’s best assessment at the time:

It may now be laughable for anyone to suggest that the Libyan attack was spontaneous, but that’s a question for the CIA, which made spontaneity its first and most durable claim that weekend. An intelligence failure is a different thing than a lie, and it should lead to a different set of questions about the underlying policy and skills of administration officials to accurately understand the world. You could also ask whether it’s possible to make good policy when engaged in one-foot-in and one-foot-out operations like the U.S. attack on Libya. But those are policy questions, not cover-up questions. [Slate, 4/30/14]

Myth: No One Knows Where Obama Was During Benghazi Attack 

Gowdy: “I … Cannot Tell You” What Obama Was Doing During Attack. On the May 8, 2013 edition of Fox’s Hannity, Gowdy told host Sean Hannity he did not know what the President was doing during the attacks in Benghazi (emphasis added):

HANNITY: Congressman Gowdy, where was the President? We know he was briefed by Leon Panetta. Is there any indication the president ever inquired as to an update when our embassy was under attack and that our ambassador was in trouble? Was there ever any communication that’s been confirmed or that he just went to bed and got up and went fundraising the next day?

GOWDY: There was nothing brought out today by our colleagues on the other side of the aisle that would indicate what the president was doing while this seven-hour long siege took place. So, I want to be fair to him, but the simple fact is I, even after eight months, cannot tell you what the commander-in-chief was doing when our people under our flag were being murdered and under assault on a foreign land. It is sad that a member of Congress after eight months can’t answer your question. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/8/13, accessed via Nexis]

Fact: Obama Was In The Oval Office During The Attacks

Obama Was In The Oval Office During Attacks. A photo that has been available since October 11, 2012 on the White House Flickr page shows President Obama in the Oval Office during the September 2012 attacks:

 [Media Matters9/11/13

Huffington Post: Panetta And Dempsey “Were Meeting With Obama When They First Learned Of The Assault.” The Huffington Post reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey were meeting with President Obama when they learned of the attack:

Several committee Republicans pressed Panetta and Dempsey about their discussions with President Barack Obama on that fateful day and his level of involvement, suggesting that after the initial conversation the commander in chief was disengaged as Americans died.

Panetta said he and Dempsey were meeting with Obama when they first learned of the Libya assault. He said the president told them to deploy forces as quickly as possible. [The Huffington Post, 2/7/13]

Dempsey: Obama’s Staff “Was Engaged With The National Military Command Center Pretty Constantly” Throughout The Attack. Dempsey testified during a February 7 congressional hearing that the president’s staff was engaged with the military command center constantly during the attack, “which is the way it would normally work”:  

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH): But just to be clear, that night he didn’t ask you what assets we had available and how quickly they could respond and how quickly we could help those people there -

PANETTA: No. I think the biggest problem that night, Senator, is that nobody knew really what was going on there.

AYOTTE: And there was no follow up during the night, at least from the White House directly?

PANETTA: No. No, there wasn’t.

DEMPSEY: I would, if I could just, to correct one thing. I wouldn’t say there was no follow-up from the White House. There was no follow-up, to my knowledge, with the president.  But his staff was engaged with the national military command center pretty constantly through the period, which is the way it would normally work.

AYOTTE: But no direct communication from him?

DEMPSEY: Not on my part, no. [C-SPAN, 2/7/13, via Media Matters]

Myth: Gowdy Claimed ”Sole Function” Of Accountability Review Board Was To Insulate Clinton From Blame Over Benghazi

Gowdy: “The Sole Function Of The Accountability Review Board Was To Insulate Hillary Clinton.” On the April 30, 2013 edition of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, Gowdy claimed that the State Department’s internal audit, conducted by the  Accountability Review Board (ARB), was designed to protect Hillary Clinton rather than get answers (emphasis added):

GOWDY: I think it’s a growing frustration. You want to let government do its job. When people say, we’re investigating it, we’re going to get to the bottom of it, we’re going to get you answers, you want to believe them. But after seven months, it becomes patently obvious that the sole function of the accountability review board was to insulate Hillary Clinton.

So at some point, again, speaking generically, I think you — just in the quietness of your own soul, you realize government is not getting us answers on Benghazi. And I have to show the courage, the moral courage, if you will, to come forward even if there are going to be reprisals and consequences against me.

And more power to them for doing so. There are folks whose careers are in jeopardy. There are folks who are understandably fearful of retribution. And we ought to be encouraging and incenting them to come forward. We ought to be providing counsel and access to classified information and not threats.

And I think what we’re going to find out next week is that this effort to delay and obfuscate and hide has been going on since shortly after Benghazi. [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 4/30/13, accessed via Nexis]

FACT: ARB Review Found To Be “Without Bias” And “A Model” For Future Audits

IG Report Praised Clinton’s Implementation Of ARB Recommendations. A Department of State Inspector General (IG) review of the ARB process found that “The Accountability Review Board process operates as intended—independently and without bias.” The report praised the personal involvement of Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as “a model for how the Department should handle future ARB recommendations”:

The Department’s handling of the Benghazi ARB recommendations represents a significant departure from the previous norm in that Secretary Clinton took charge directly of oversight for the implementation process. She designated the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources as the coordinator for implementation with strict guidelines for a reporting schedule. Initially, the Deputy Secretary held weekly meetings with under secretaries and assistant secretaries to track implementation. Implementation continues, albeit on a less regular schedule now that many of the recommendations have been addressed.

This high-level oversight of the Benghazi ARB implementation process has been sustained through the transition from Secretary Clinton to Secretary Kerry. This level of attention from both secretaries and their senior staffs is a reflection of their personal concern in this matter and the unique scope of the Benghazi ARB recommendations. Approximately 90 percent of the recommendations (26 of 29) in the Benghazi report focused on systemic management reforms.

[…]

High-level leadership has been critical in driving and sustaining implementation of the Benghazi ARB recommendations, and this approach establishes a model for how the Department should handle future ARB recommendations. [United States Department Of State Office Of Inspector General, September 2013]

h/t: Thomas Bishop & Olivia Marshall at MMFA

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