Benghazi Panel: A Path to President Obama’s Impeachment?

Republicans clamor to join special House committee; Justice Department to monitor racial bias in policing.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images


The News: House Republicans are expected to vote Thursday to impanel a special committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya.

Republicans would hold seven seats on the committee, and Democrats would be allowed five members. The imbalance on the panel is among the issues that Democrats cite as evidence of Republican partisanship as Democrats consider not participating.

“This is not going to be a sideshow,” Republican House Speaker John Boehner counters. “This is not going to be a circus. This is a serious investigation.”

South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the top-ranking African American in the House and the assistant Democratic leader, said the committee should have an equal number of members from both parties. “I’m not bringing a noose to my hanging,” he says.

The Take: Now that the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner has come and gone, a seat on this panel is the hottest ticket in Washington for House Republicans.

But some of us aren’t paying attention. We Americans, particularly black people, tend to ignore foreign affairs, and what interest many of us do have is in decline.

There are other reasons for our lack of interest. We know this is a Republican witch hunt to fire up conservatives for the midterm elections, with efforts already under way to raise money behind it. We know this is designed to become a millstone Republicans hope to tie around Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential ambitions. And we know that virtually all the pertinent questions have been asked and answered.

But this is worth our attention because of its potentially troubling implications for President Barack Obama.

A Benghazi probe could provide a framework to eventually introduce articles of impeachment against the president. What else could make more than 200 Republican lawmakers clamor for seven slots on a committee?