Boehner announces vote to establish select committee on Benghazi

Following disclosures of previously unreleased emails between White House and Obama administration officials, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced early this afternoon that he will establish a select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.

The Weekly Standard reported this morning that Boehner was “seriously considering” a select committee due to a previously unreleased email showing that a White House official urged then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice “[t]o underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy” when she appeared on Sunday talk shows following the attack.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the email hadn’t not been released prior to this week because it was “not about Benghazi.” Promos from those Sunday talk shows show that Rice’s appearances on revolved around the attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in the Libyan city.

“Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House,” Boehner said in a statement. “These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen.

“In light of these new developments,” he continued, “the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.”

Boehner didn’t indicate whom he has in mind to serve on the committee. A handful of House Republicans, with the Speaker’s blessing, have already formed a working group to review statements and testimony from witnesses about the attack to look for contradictions.

The Washington Examiner reports, however, that Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) could serve as chairman of the select committee. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) endorsed that idea on his official House Twitter account.

Boehner commended the “extraordinary work” that House committees had done in their respective investigations of the Benghazi attack and the White House and administration’s false post-attack narrative. He slammed the administration for “a flagrant violation of trust [that] undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built.”

“The administration’s withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built,” And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?

“[I]t’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight. This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level,” Boehner said. “I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims.”

There was no word on when the House will vote to establish the select committee. The House will be in session four days next week. Members will go back home for a week-long district work period before returning to Washington on Monday, May 19.

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