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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: Update on Benghazi hearing

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 20, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: Each week we ask you to vote in our Friday Lightning Round poll for your favorite topic of the week that you want the panel to talk about. This week you chose the Benghazi hearings by an overwhelming margin. So we are back with our panel to talk about that.

Charles, let's start with you. There was a hearing this week. There were questions about whether there was a whole lot of new information there, but there is a press to keep pushing for more, and word that Congressman Issa is going to subpoena a couple of key State Department folks.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes. And I think the most important thing that came out was the remarkable degree of control that the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton, had over the process in choosing the members in reviewing the draft before it was done. That isn't how you do an independent probe, and I think that calls into question a lot of stuff, including why was she never interrogated for the report?

BREAM: Yeah, Jonah there have been many questions about, you know, choosing members who were on the review board and who was briefed before the report was made public. All of that came up.

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: She got to see a draft of it. She picked four out of the five members of the independent review board. And almost everybody who was interviewed wasn't interviewed under oath. This was not -- pickering in moments tried to make this sound as if this was an FBI investigation. But an FBI investigation is done very, very differently.

Ultimately, I think the problem here is that we know what happened.  Is that the White House was caught flat-footed on 9/11. They were unprepared in a lot of different ways and they responded very politically in the middle of a presidential campaign. And by dragging this out for so long, the irony is that they have changed the focus from what was Obama scandal into a Hillary, 2016 scandal. And that's -- it's probably going to have a half-life until then.

BREAM: Regardless of what led to this point, it was heart-breaking to see the families this week who are sitting there still waiting for answers about what happened to their loved ones.

Alright, on to our next topic. Today brand new regulations that will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the coal industry – or at least the coal plant industry, Chuck, in the U.S.

CHUCK LANE, OPINION WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, this was not a surprise, but the president or his EPA administrator announced strict new limits on how much carbon can be produced by a power plant and pretty much rule out any new coal fired plants. And of course, this is going to be fought in the courts by the industries. And that could take a long time. It could go all the way up to the D.C. circuit or even the Supreme Court.

But I think it's part of a kind of a, you know, crushing down, if you like, of the coal industry that the administration has been committed to for some time. And I don't think, however, it's the end of the road for coal, because, interestingly, American coal is now being exported very -- in tremendous amounts, including to, of all places, Europe, in part because some of the energy measures they have taken over there to fight climate change, such as taking or other environmental issues taking nuclear power offline and created a lot of demand for coal because they can't produce enough solar and wind and so forth.

So it's all part of, I think, a long-term trend into moving the U.S. coal industry into a smaller place but that might be more dependent on exports and so it might survive that way.

BREAM: There were a number of Democrats who spoke out against this today because for them -- folks like Joe Manchin in West Virginia and other places -- it's critical to their job base and the folks there.

LANE: This is also part of the big shift to red state status permanently for Kentucky and West Virginia. That used to have very strong Democratic parties.

GOLDBERG: I just – two good points. One is my understanding is even though it will be challenged in the courts and it's a temporary thing, it goes into effect immediately.

BREAM: And without congressional input.

GOLDBERG: And without congressional input.

Second, I want to congratulate President Obama. He promised that under his energy plan electricity rates would skyrocket. And this is another one of his promises that he is trying to fulfill.

BREAM: Ok. We will put that in the achieve column.

LANE: Natural gas is coming online and it's cheaper --

GOLDBERG: But it's also covered by the same regulation.

LANE: But all natural gas plants already meet the standard in this regulation.

BREAM: It just -- it raises that – the question again. The criticism again that this administration is willing to use executive power to do what it cannot do on Capitol Hill.

Alright, it's end of the week. I want to make sure we get to your winners and losers. Jonah, would you like to start us off?

GOLDBERG: Sure. My winner, not a cheery one, is Bashar Assad, who has now successfully gone into the books as having the most successful chemical weapons attack in human history. It completely changed American foreign policy and cemented his power for the foreseeable future.

And my losers are the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee who didn't have the grace, or the self-confidence, or the basic decency to just sit there and at least listen to the families of the victims of the Benghazi attacks.

BREAM: I did see some backlash for that. Do you think they are going to hear more about that? Do you think that the average American realizes they did that?

GOLDBERG: I don't know if the average American knows it because it doesn't get covered very much, but I think it grinds into the families and makes them all the more convinced that the Democrats just want this to go away and don't care about them.

BREAM: Where do you think we go next on Benghazi? I mean it's far from over.

GOLDBERG: More hearings. I don't know. I mean, I don't know.

BREAM: Someone will eventually be arrested, we hope. Ok, Chuck, your winners and losers this week?

LANE: My winner I went for domestic politics. I picked Bill de Blasio who is the Democratic party's newly crowned nominee for mayor of New York. And the polls that have been coming out in the last couple days show he is way ahead of Joe Lhota, the Republican, and seemingly destined for victory and status as the new rock star on the American left for the progressive policies articulated there.

My loser is John Boehner, and not because of anything he did wrong. I don't think he did anything especially wrong this week. I'm just reaching out in sympathy to John Boehner because I think his life is miserable. He has a very, very tough job.

BREAM: I want to quickly get to Charles, make sure we get him in.

KRAUTHAMMER: Loser Israel. It's seen what happened with Syria and the mad embrace of the new Iranian moderates and it knows it is now alone in the world.

And in a change of pace, the winners are the two elderly clowns who had a traffic accident outside of a fair. They were both unhurt except Dimples the Clown, the driver, suffered a minor bump on the head. But as reported by AP, police have Dimples, the clown driver, wearing clown shoes, but the oversized foot wear apparently didn't play a role in the crash.

BREAM: That is all factual information.

KRAUTHAMMER: That is remarkable and I want to salute Dimples driving with a size 38 shoe successfully.

BREAM: But that didn't contribute. Thank you, gentlemen. That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for a very special message.

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