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House votes to start new Benghazi investigation

By Bradley Klapper and Donna Cassata

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans on Thursday rammed through a measure opening a new investigation of the deadly assault in Benghazi, Libya, vowing to dig deeper in a search for truth. Democrats declared it merely a political ploy to raise campaign cash and motivate voters.

A bitterly divided House voted 232-186 to establish the panel that Speaker John Boehner insisted would answer questions that linger almost 20 months after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission. Seven Democrats, many facing tough re-election campaigns, broke ranks and joined Republicans in supporting the probe.

The panel's investigation will be the eighth on Benghazi and will examine the entirety of the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Independent, bipartisan and GOP-led probes have faulted the State Department for inadequate security at the outpost, leading to four demotions. No attacker has yet been brought to justice.

Republicans say they're unsatisfied with explanations so far, and they have leveled a range of accusations against President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior administration officials. Chief among them: that the administration misled the American people about the nature of the attack during a presidential election campaign and stonewalled congressional investigators.

"We will not take any shortcuts to the truth, accountability or justice," Boehner said during House debate.

Democrats remain divided over whether to boycott the select committee. They are concerned that their participation would grant legitimacy to what they believe will be a partisan forum. But they also worry that if they avoid it they won't have the chance to counter GOP claims and defend potential witnesses - including Clinton, a possible 2016 presidential candidate.

Party leaders will meet with their rank and file Friday morning to decide on the next step.

Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida criticized the "song and dance" she said came from Clinton when House members wanted to question her about Benghazi a few months after the attack. Clinton's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee was delayed when she missed a month of work toward the end of her tenure after suffering a virus, then a fall and a concussion, and then brief hospitalization for a blood clot near her brain.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said no evidence uncovered in any of the investigations thus far suggests wrongdoing by the administration. Republican claims have descended into "the crass and unbelievable," she said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the questions "have been asked and answered time and time and time again," and he added: "Let's end the political circus."

Benghazi has produced 13 public hearings, the release of 25,000 pages of documents and 50 separate briefings. The select committee won't be the only inquiry, as other GOP-led congressional panels continue their probes, including a House Oversight investigation which just last week took the extraordinary step of subpoenaing a Cabinet member. Secretary of State John Kerry hasn't said when he might testify.

Democrats deride the effort as a conservative campaign designed to energize Republican voters in typically low-turnout midterm elections.

Boehner's legislation creates a select House committee through the end of the year. It will have to be reapproved when a new Congress begins in January or go out of existence. The select committee has no explicit financial constraints.

Earlier this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent an email vowing that "no one will get away" from the committee's investigation and asking people for donations.

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the Democratic campaign committee chairman, called fundraising off Benghazi "despicable and insulting." Boehner on Thursday refused to criticize the fundraising drive.

In an opinion piece Thursday in USA Today, the congressman whom Boehner has chosen to head the probe signaled he'd re-examine the entirety of the Benghazi attack, including questions Democrats and some senior Republicans consider settled.

David Brock Urges CBS News To Reopen '60 Minutes' Benghazi Investigation

The GOP-led House Armed Services Committee concluded months ago the U.S. military couldn't have responded in time to save Stevens and the others. Still, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina asked: "Was our military response during the pendency of the siege sufficient?"

The Obama administration says officials tried to provide the public with the best information available after the attack at a time when U.S. embassies, consulates and other facilities were facing angry demonstrations across the Muslim world over a YouTube video mocking Islam's Prophet Muhammad. The administration originally attributed Benghazi to a similar protest that extremists hijacked, but retracted that account amid severe criticism.

House Democrats have issued several demands if they are to participate in the select committee. Boehner already has rejected their call for equal representation on the panel, deciding instead to fill it with seven Republicans and five Democrats. The Democrats also seek guarantees they'll have equal access to documents, say on subpoenas and right to question witnesses. Negotiations continue.

Join the discussion

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Mark May 09 2014 at 9:35 AM

Republican = Inbred and corn fed !!!!!

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gdyas May 09 2014 at 9:24 AM

What is wrong with telling the American People the truth, whether it be Conservative, or Liberal, made the hearings be broadcast for all to see, and anyone caught lying is sent to jail, the American People deserve to know the whole Truth. The President said his administration would be transparent, but to this point it has been far from that. If there is no wrong-doing, then why are they trying to stonewall. It makes me sick to think of how far down our Country has fallen, we use to be looked up too, and now we are made fun of. It is time for the politicians to be held accountable, and this means both sides of the aisle, stop being Democrate, and Republican, but start being Americans.

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rick May 09 2014 at 9:24 AM

What a mess these republican characters are. Then go out and profit from the Americans' deaths like the leaching parasites they have allowed themselves to become.

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spike May 09 2014 at 9:22 AM

Hey I know,why not have a 56th vote on Obama care .Gops have had a lot of practice on that bill.One more won't hurt.It won't do any good ,but it won't hurt.You have not accomplished anything in the last five years so what if you fail again.

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EZBE6@AOL.COM May 09 2014 at 9:21 AM

What have the Republican's done for the American people. Who paying for this B.S.
investigation. American's can not wait for these Ship of Fools Sink like the Titanic.

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2 replies
James M. Adams EZBE6@AOL.COM May 09 2014 at 9:28 AM

What is it that you want done for you by Republicans?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jrb359 EZBE6@AOL.COM May 09 2014 at 9:31 AM

How can you possibly support the Democrats that lie to your face?

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1 reply
joni jrb359 May 09 2014 at 9:50 AM

I do no understand why blocking a probe is the best way to get answers!
Chris Stevens was protecting our interests in Libya and he didn't get a crummy
tee shirt thanking him. How dare anyone try to lighten the load of this killing of mass
destruction by hammering at a video as the real criminal. Why don't we just blame
Beavis and Butthead for a video as well.
No help was even summoned for these four brave souls, and by the way all other
documents were redacted and blacked out so no evidence was quantified.
A shameful act of evil is being protracted by the left just to win an election. I would like
all of Waxman drones to look into the eyes of the families of those brave souls and explain
to them why their offspring was decimated.

Flag +2 rate up
stevfrly May 09 2014 at 9:20 AM

This poor beat to heck horse has been dead so long it smells worse than the Republican party. Can you really say they're not sick, when they continue to beat the well rotted corpse?

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Sir. JJStryyker May 09 2014 at 9:20 AM

It's about fricken time. There was a lot of information heald back from the first investigation. Now it's time to get out the shovles and start digging. I'm sure they won't have to dig too deep. All they have to do is uncover what they've been hiding all this time, JJr.

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justputinalong May 09 2014 at 9:20 AM

Republicans are actually using the tragedy in Benghazi to raise campaign money. Can they get any lower, probably. They will have 7 republicons and 5 democrats on the panel, a little lopsided? yep. I can see something like this happening in Russia but I never thought I would live to see the day it would happen in the USA. I vote that the Dems don't show up, none of them. For the panel or the questioning, let them question each other on how fair and balanced they are just like their leader, The FOX Comedy Network.

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1 reply
jmikhl justputinalong May 09 2014 at 9:25 AM

Well, then, you are a moron jusputinalong...too young to remember Watergate sonny? the Dems ran that show and the Republicans did THEIR duty to the country and sat on that panel. Was it lopsided then little fella?

What in the world are you SO AFRAID OF?

As if we all didn't know.

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1 reply
beasleybbb jmikhl May 09 2014 at 9:34 AM

instead of trying to stop the different branches of gov from doing and trying to distroy the country by giving it away to blacks and mex and white trash, grab a gun and stand guard for awhile.

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dlsbasscop May 09 2014 at 9:20 AM

It is Bi -Partisan VOTE to INVESTIGATE. How many GOP voted for Obamacare??? How man Democrats voted to investigate the death of four Americans??? You libs call the Obamacare Vote a vote of the People or Bi-Partisan. By that standard, this vote to investigate is a Mandate by the People with so many Democrats voting for it. Your CIC and Ex SOS, Hillary, lied, misled and did so in front of the families of the Dead who were lying right before them in Flagged Draped Coffins at the Airport. This was Days after the attack and those two idiots claimed it to be a Video that caused it.

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1 reply
connollyll dlsbasscop May 09 2014 at 9:31 AM

There have been 8 investigations and nothing has turned up. Where was the outrage or even one investgation into the 13 attacks on Embassys under GWB? How many of you have ever been in a US Embassy compound? Why even in "safe" countries are they so well protected? The republicans voted twice not to increase spending and Amb. Stevens said added protection was not needed at that time.

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jmikhl May 09 2014 at 9:19 AM

"The administration originally attributed Benghazi to a similar protest that extremists hijacked, but retracted that account amid severe criticism."

Yeah...two weeks later, after their lies had been proven false...and they KNEW they were false.

No, this whole process would not have been necessary, if we ACTUALLY HAD the most transparent administration in history, as dear leader has claimed.

Which, BTW, was also just another lie.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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