For quite some time now, the Benghazi issue has been lingering in American politics. As the general election draws near, it threatens to be an issue to haunt Associated Press-nominated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. For Republicans, the issue has been a rallying cry.
Is it relevant however? Is this a legitimate issue or is it just more politicking?
The debate over Benghazi itself aside, President Barack Obama is now entering as a major player and is letting his inner-constitutional scholar shine. The issue at hand is due to a recent line of questions coming from the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The shocking part wasn’t the content of the questions, but instead questions themselves. The White House believes that the President should be shielded from Congress and not held accountable.
Neil Eggleston, counsel to the president, lit into Republican Chairman Trey Gowdy by stating the President shouldn’t have to answer any questions related to the attack. The House Committee has been attempting to wrap up their investigation and close the door on some unrelated questions. Given that American lives did get killed in the embassy attack and there’s been some question as to the official response, it’s not unreasonable to try and get to the bottom of that.
But not according to the White House lawyers.
Eggleston specifically stated that the President couldn’t answer the questions from the committee because to do so would suggest that “would suggest that Congress has the unilateral power to demand answers from the president about his official acts.”
In other words, checks and balances can impede upon the President’s ego and damage his dictator mentality.
A lecture from the White House about separation of powers is astounding, considering this is the same President that told Congress if they didn’t act on his immigration reform plan, he’d just bypass them. Does the President have the power to legislate? Or is that the power of the legislative branch itself?
The White House also launched the allegation that the line of questions coming from the House Committee is partisan in nature and implies he’s being setup as the general election draws near.
This likely has some truth to it, but what does it matter?
Partisan attack or honest inquiry, if the President or anyone involved with his Administration, past or present, have nothing to hide, why decline to answer?
It would seem like the most obvious move here would be to call out the Panel for the partisan attack and then return fire with all the answers, clearing the President’s name. Isn’t this what would be called a checkmate? Of course, the problem here would be if the lack of a checkmate exists. What if the President doesn’t have the right answers to clear his name? What if the President knows that his Administration in some capacity, whether it be a top official or someone low on the chain, messed up?
This would certainly explain why the President is hiding behind a weak separation of powers argument to protect his power and guilt. It then begs the next question: what exactly does President Obama and his Administration have to hide?