All-Star Panel: Reaction to Dems to participating in Benghazi panel

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 21, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


NANCY PELOSI, D – CA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I could have argued this either way. Why give any validity to this effort? But I do think it is important for the American people to have a pursuit of these questions done in as fair and open and balanced way as possible. That simply would not be possible leaving it to the Republicans.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D - MD: I believe we need someone in that room to simply defend the truth...defend the truth.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Democrats have now officially joined the select committee on Benghazi. Take a look at the five Democrats appointed by the minority leader Nancy Pelosi. There you see them, Elijah Cummings, Tammy Duckworth, Adam Schiff, and Linda Sanchez. They now add to the full committee, 12 members total, and the Benghazi committee will get underway. What about this? What do we make about the politics, the policy, Ron?

FOURNIER: Well, I still think that -- I think -- that we probably know everything there is to know that's relevant about Benghazi, which is that poor security, poor planning led to the death of four Americans and a blemish on both Secretary Clinton and President Obama's record. Secondly, that Republicans have to be careful of not overreaching by getting bogged down in conspiracy theories that don't bear out or retread information that we have already gone over.

Third, Democrats have to worry about looking like they are covering something up, or actually covering something up, which is why I just didn't understand why there was even talk that they might not take part in this committee. They had to do this, and they have got to do this right or they are going to look like they're hiding something.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I don't agree with Ron, as you might suspect, that we know everything that there is to know about this. I think there is a lot that we don't know. I think there are many open-ended questions despite the fact that we have had committees looking at this. Part of the reason for that is that the White House has very clearly refused to provide the kind of information that Congress has sought in its oversight capacity again and again and again. Hopefully, this committee will see this.

I think the fact that Democrats are joining is good for the process. Despite the fact that Democrats came out in their press conference today said, in effect, look, this is a partisan enterprise. We are entering this as partisans. We are there basically to defend the president and defend Hillary Clinton. They announced that, sort of unprecedented. But I still think it's good for the process because it legitimizes the process, number one, and, number two, I think it ensures that this will now get some coverage that it probably wouldn't have gotten if wouldn't have gotten had Democrats not participated.

BAIER: That's definitely true. That's the consensus in Washington.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, yes. I think it would not have gotten a lot of coverage. I don't think it will anyway at the beginning. The mainstream media are going to want to ignore it. But I do think in the end when new stuff comes out you cannot ignore it. And we saw that happen with the Rhodes memo. It was concealed. It was a year late, finally is released by court order, and everybody says, wait a minute, this contradicts the central story of the administration that the fable that they spun on the five shows, Susan Rice spun on the five shows, came entirely from the CIA. It's clear there was pressure from the White House, the political side of the White House to spin this tale.

So to me what's important is, are there other memos like that out there? I am sure they are because the fact that the administration was hiding all this implies interest is other stuff. And it's the facts that will dictate the coverage.

BAIER: Ron, let's just take the after politics and talk about and characterizing the attack off the table. But the before preparation for the security, the administration always points back to the Accountability Review Board, the ARB. Why do you think Hillary Clinton and Undersecretary Pat Kennedy, neither of them were interviewed for that report that now is the holy grail of defense for the administration?

RON FOURNIER, SENIOR POLITICAL COLUMNIST, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Well, there is one of two explanations. They forgot. I don't buy that, so it had to be that they didn't want to be interviewed and they were worried about the political fallout here. And it's going to be harder to it -- I think you are exactly right. The mainstream media is not going to ignore this now because, say what you want about the mainstream media, we don't like to be lied to, we don't like to have stuff hidden from us, and that's what happened with the Rhodes memo. So it's a new game now, baby.

HAYES: The other thing with the ARB, they provided information to Hillary Clinton and her staff in advance of release of the report and the leaders of the ARB tipped off Cheryl Mills, her chief of staff, about a bad witness.

BAIER: Well, there is more to talk about here. That's it for this panel, though. Stay tuned, we need some good news. We really do. We will bring it to you here.

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