GOP Committee Chair Says Investigations Will Continue If Hillary Clinton Becomes President

Get ready for more hearings if Hillary Clinton becomes President.

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House Republicans are promising more investigations if Hillary Clinton is elected President:

Jason Chaffetz, the Utah congressman wrapping up his first term atop the powerful House Oversight Committee, unendorsed Donald Trump weeks ago. That freed him up to prepare for something else: spending years, come January, probing the record of a President Hillary Clinton.

“It’s a target-rich environment,” the Republican said in an interview in Salt Lake City’s suburbs. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good.”

If Republicans retain control of the House, something that GOP-friendly maps make possible even in the event of a Trump loss, Clinton will become the first president since George H.W. Bush to immediately face a House Oversight Committee controlled by the opposition party. (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama lost Congress later in their presidencies.)

And other Republican leaders say they support Chaffetz’s efforts — raising the specter of more partisan acrimony between them and the White House for the next four years.

“The rigorous oversight conducted by House Republicans has already brought to light troubling developments in the [Hillary] Clinton email scandal,” the office of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The speaker supports [Oversight’s] investigative efforts following where the evidence leads, especially where it shows the need for changes in the law.”

And the Oversight Committee may not be the only House panel ready for partisan battle. While the Select Committee on Benghazi appears to have finished its work, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a committee member who says Clinton might have perjured herself on questions about her email, said recently that he wants the committee to continue.

If she wins, Clinton would enter office with low favorable ratings and only one-third of voters considering her “honest and trustworthy.” As a result, Republicans are not inclined to give her a political honeymoon. To many of them, a Clinton victory would mean that Trump threw away an election that anyone else could have won.

“This should have been a slam dunk for the GOP,” party consultant Frank Luntz said Sunday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

That analysis stems from the investigations Republicans have led — or asked for — into Clinton’s tenure at the State Department. Clinton has been dogged by investigations into the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, and for the better part of two years, she’s reeled from questions about the private email server she used while secretary of state. Chaffetz, too, views Clinton as a lucky candidate whose past will catch up with her after the polls close.

 ”She’s not getting a clean slate,” he said. “It’s not like the State Department was bending over backwards to help us understand what was going on. We’ve got document destruction. We’ve got their own rogue system. We’ve got classified information out the door. We’ve got their foundation doing who knows what. I mean, it took them four years just to release her schedule.”

Several Clinton allies recoiled when asked about Chaffetz’s plans for 2017. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said Chaffetz threatened to “ignore the public’s clear desire for the two parties to work together,” and he and others accused Chaffetz of wasting taxpayer money chasing old stories.

“It’s clear Congressman Chaffetz is ready to spend resources on additional worthless political investigations that will, again, come up with nothing,” said David Brock, a former Clinton foe who now runs the pro-Clinton political action committee American Bridge and its affiliates.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Oversight Committee and the Select Committee on Benghazi, said that new Clinton investigations based on the scandals vetted since 2013 would amount to waste.

“Republicans are pretending like they haven’t been investigating Secretary Clinton for years ever since she announced that she was running for president, including everything from Benghazi to emails to the Clinton Foundation,” Cummings said in a statement. “It’s no exaggeration to say that on the first day Secretary Clinton walks into the White House, Republicans will have already investigated her more than any other president in history.”

(…)

Chaffetz emphasized that the questions raised since he took over the committee in 2015 have not all been answered.

“We still have tens of thousands of missing documents,” he said. “That ranges from everything from the missing boxes [of subpoenaed emails] to the David Petraeus emails, to [State Department Undersecretary] Patrick Kennedy’s communications.”

Chaffetz also suggested that coming Clinton hearings would touch on issues that had not been vetted. He had sent the committee’s investigators a weekend article from the Wall Street Journal that asked whether Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) had slanted the FBI’s probe of Clinton by helping outside groups put $467,500 into the campaign of Virginia senate candidate Jill McCabe, whose husband, Andrew, later became deputy director of the FBI.

“It seems like an obscene amount of money for a losing race,” Chaffetz said. “The ties between the governor and the Clintons are well-known. He raises money for a lot of people, but why so much for this one person?”

In addition, Chaffetz previously said in an interview with CNN, an FBI agent’s suggestion that Kennedy had tried to get Clinton’s emails declassified deserved a hard look. “I honestly don’t believe they act in the best interests of our country,” he said of the State Department. Future Oversight investigations, he said, might depend on whether Clinton tries to put people ensnared by previous probes into her administration.

(…)

“It depends on how cooperative they are, how seriously they take it,” Chaffetz said. “If they continue to erect walls and shore up the turrets, then, yeah, it’s going to be a battle. But if they act like they’re supposed to, if they comply with subpoenas and actually respond to requests from Congress, well, our republic requires that.”

This shouldn’t be at all surprising, of course. Republicans spent much of the time after gaining control of the House in 1994 investigating various aspects of Bill Clinton’s Administration in a manner which formed a model for the later investigations into the Obama Administration, many of which were of course directed at Clinton herself. As such, it’s no real surprise that we’d see the same pattern continue should Hillary Clinton become the 45th President and Republicans retain control of at least the House of Representatives, which seems to be the most likely outcome regardless of how wide a margin Clinton might end up with at the end of the night. Indeed, more than one person has made the observation that the strategy of obstructionism and delay that characterized much of the strategy that Republicans on Capitol Hill have engaged in vis a vis President Obama since the day he took office had its roots in the confrontations, hearings, and conspiracy theories that typified much of the Bill Clinton Presidency and which, of course, reached its peak in an impeachment spectacle that now seems to be a foolish waste of time even according to many Republicans who were there at the time. Finally, as I noted, many of the investigations that have taken place since the GOP retook the House have involved Clinton in any case, including most prominently the myriad investigations into the September 2012 Benghazi attack so it’s not surprising that Congress would continue investigating her regardless of whether or not she became President.

To at least some degree, of course, Chaffetz’s remarks are consistent with reports from earlier this week that Republicans as a whole at the House and Senate level are shifting their campaign rhetoric in a way that essentially assumes that Clinton is going to win in November. The promise of more investigations is, quite honestly, exactly what Republican base voters want to hear, so comments like Chaffetz’s should be viewed at least in part as part of an effort to rally support from base voters, many of whom may be upset with Congressional leaders whose support for the top of the ticket may be lukewarm at best and often downright hostile. At the same time, though, it’s likely an accurate prediction of what we’re likely to see in the future. Just as it didn’t take long for the appropriate House committees to open investigations in one aspect or another of the Obama Administration once they regained control of the House, it won’t take long for the same thing to happen if and when Hillary Clinton becomes President. Among the areas likely to be explored are Clinton’s email server and the FBI investigation into that matter, the Clinton Foundation and the question of whether or not certain entities were given political favors while she served as Secretary of State, and lord know what conspiracy theory may be derived from the election results. It’s also likely there will be yet more inquiries into the Benghazi attack because, well, it’s become something of a Republican obsession. Somewhere in between there, I guess, Congress will have its regular job to do.

Whether this is what the American people want is, of course, another question entirely.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Among the areas likely to be explored are Clinton’s email server and the FBI investigation into that matter, the Clinton Foundation and the question of whether or not certain entities were given political favors while she served as Secretary of State, and lord know what conspiracy theory may be derived from the election results. It’s also likely there will be yet more inquiries into the Benghazi attack because, well, it’s become something of a Republican obsession. Somewhere in between there, I guess, Congress will have its regular job to do.

    I, like many others, have always thought that 8 or 9 separate investigations of Benghazi just was not enough.

    It really does not matter though, Republican hate of the Clintons is so wide and so deep that they do not need a good reason to investigate Hillary Clinton, and innuendo or rumor will suffice.

    I know it’s still early, however I’ve just about accepted the possibility (assuming that Republicans retain control of the House) that Hillary, like Bill, will be impeached by the House, but not convicted by the Senate.

  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    .

    It just warms my heart how well the GOP is already communicating that they will work with ALL branches of the US Government to ensure that we Americans get the best possible value from those who are elected to serve.

    — facepalmslap —

    I sincerely hope that this Trump fiasco just destroys their party.

    Morons.

  3. Andrew says:

    Water is wet. Republicans put party before the country. Cows give milk.

  4. Tony W says:

    For true fiscal conservatives, Chaffetz makes an excellent case for voting against every sitting Republican.

  5. Mikey says:

    Whether this is what the American people want is, of course, another question entirely.

    On Nov. 8 there will be elections for all 435 House seats. Thanks to the post-2010-census Republican gerrymandering, only about 17 of those are competitive. That’s only 3.9%. House Republicans have concluded, correctly at this point, that their anti-governing and anti-American actions will result in no punishment at all.

    Still, I have to think: if Clinton wins by a substantial popular vote margin, and the GOP continues its current levels of pointless “investigation” and obstruction, the GOP might lose its House majority in spite of its extreme gerrymandering. The American people might wake up to the fact their wishes are being ignored by a Republican majority that consistently puts party before country.

  6. Jen says:

    How much do these investigations witch hunts cost? This and Cruz’s assertion that no SC justices will be confirmed because, hey, there’s a history of the court operating with fewer than nine, make me furious. However, if they keep this up, they are likely going to harm their chances for 2018, when there are far more Democratic Senate seats up.

    Really, really dumb move guys.

  7. george says:

    Nothing new will come up with further investigations, and the overtly partisan nature of it will help Clinton with her own supporters and probably with independents as well. The only people who will care will be Republican supporters who would never vote Democratic Party in any case.

    The GOP leadership knows that as well; presumably the reason they’re going to push it is there’re worried about re-uniting the Trumpers and neverTrumpers after the election (the split is considerably larger and more acrimonious than between Sanders and Clinton supporters), and are willing to irritate independents immediately after an election if it helps party unity.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    The GOPs will continue investigating anything they can come up with on Hillary. Hoocoodanode.

  9. Pete S says:

    So Jordan brings the pile of money, Ryan brings the gasoline, and Chaffetz brings the matches to light it on fire. After the hearings they will get up and lecture the country on the need to behave in a fiscally sound manner.

    I really believe that President Obama has not faced a serious scandal because he is a fundamentally honest and decent guy. But part of me would love to hear that he has pillaged the treasury in a Putin-esque fashion but the Oversight Committee was too busy on their witch hunts to ever notice.

  10. Stonetools says:

    Obama magnimously refused to pursue prosecutions of Bush Administration officials back in 2009. That was viewed as a generous gesture then, and was widely praised by all. Sadly , that looks like a strategic mistake now. I’m reluctant to recommend that a Demomaric Senate re open that can of worms, but it seems that the only thing Republicans understand is raw force on force. Appeals to norms or good governance just aren’t working.
    It seems to me that a Democratic Senate should take up the various misdeeds of the Bush Administration and begin a “reverse Benghazi” operation. Lord knows, there is enough stuff in the first four years of the Bush Administration to sustain a dozen committee investigations. Having the Bush family and Darth Cheney called in a few times for sworn testimony and having the country relive what were real screw ups by top Republicans might get the House Republicans to agree to a truce on Committee investigations. It would be ugly but hey, it’s worth a shot. Certainly, trying to shame them into acting right hasn’t worked, and is unlikely to. Maybe it’s time to take the gloves off.

  11. MikeSJ says:

    I know it’s a fantasy but I’d love to see the Democrats play hardball with the Republicans.

    When Bill was getting impeached Newt was banging future wife #3 behind wife #2’s back. This kind of behavior – while lecturing about morality – should have been exposed. Livingstone? Hastert?? The Dem’s should have doused them in gasoline and tossed a match on them.

    I’ve heard rumors about Ted Cruz and the D.C. Madame…well, let’s turn that rock over and see what crawls out. Chaffetz? Please. Just look at that guy and tell me there’s no mistress or hookers on speed dial.

    Like I said it’s a fantasy but I’d love to see Hillary fighting fire with fire.

  12. DrDaveT says:

    @Jen:

    How much do these investigations witch hunts cost?

    Straight up, or including the opportunity cost of all of the actual governance that gets skipped in order to make time for the ducking pond?

  13. Pete S says:

    @DrDaveT: Since the Republicans seem to believe that they are being elected not to govern, the opportunity cost in their eyes would probably be zero.

  14. Mikey says:

    @Stonetools: Clinton won’t pursue prosecution of Bush/Cheney either. Presidents don’t prosecute their predecessors because doing so would diminish the power of the office and remove potential future courses of action.

  15. Argon says:

    These investigations worked so well….. That Clinton and Obama both had second terms.

    Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again.

  16. M. Bouffant says:

    When will Congress investigate the (partisan) waste fraud & abuse (to coin a cliché) that goes on in Congress all the time?

  17. Neil Hudelson says:

    @MikeSJ:

    Ted Cruz and the D.C. Madame

    IIRC, the D.C. Madame scandal broke–and her harem broken up–in the mid-Aughts, before Cruz was a fixture in Washington.

  18. Stonetools says:

    @Mikey:

    Maybe Hillary won’t GAF. When you are 69 and have scores to settle you may not necessarily think long term. Just sayin’.
    Anyway, my idea is that the Democratic Senate do the investigating.

  19. JohnMcC says:

    I have wondered as I browse through the ‘predictwise’ site what would be the odds that Sec’ty Clinton might be the first President inaugurated and impeached all in the same day. After this election season would anyone say it’s impossible?

  20. Jc says:

    Can we open an investigation to see if Congress has done its job in the past 8 years? The evidence to the contrary is astounding…

  21. Blue Galangal says:

    @Argon: I think they don’t care about that. What they care about is fundraising on the anger, hatred, and distrust they can augment and then exploit.

  22. Mr. Bluster says:

    @MikeSJ:..The Dem’s should have doused them in gasoline and tossed a match on them.

    Political euphemisms…gotta’ love ’em.
    Trigger Warning!
    Thanks for bringing up the Vietnam War and one of it’s more stunning images!
    Trigger Warning!

    http://a.abcnews.com/images/International/ap_Thich_Quang_Duc_nt_130610_blog.jpg

  23. Nick says:

    Congress is literally ceding power to the Executive by promising to do nothing constructive. They’re essentially forcing the executive to rule by decree. And now they seem to also be nullifying SCOTUS by trying to keep Scalia’s seat empty. This is exactly what happened in Rome–the Senate was so parlayzed by infighting that a dictatorship was inevitable.

  24. MikeSJ says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    IIRC, the D.C. Madame scandal broke–and her harem broken up–in the mid-Aughts, before Cruz was a fixture in Washington.

    I believe his alleged involvement occurred when he was in Texas…

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @MikeSJ:

    When Bill was getting impeached Newt was banging future wife #3 behind wife #2’s back. This kind of behavior – while lecturing about morality – should have been exposed. Livingstone? Hastert?? The Dem’s should have doused them in gasoline and tossed a match on them.

    That’s a starting point Mike. Not to criticize, but that’s a very lenient approach.
    I would have had them renditioned to a remote site in Pakistan, had them shackled to poles and posts in an abandoned building in the high desert, and had the Pakistani government conduct a nuclear test on/in that building. I realize that there are environment issues with my approach, but, it would’ve been for the greater good.

  26. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Nick: @Nick:

    Congress is literally ceding power to the Executive by promising to do nothing constructive. They’re essentially forcing the executive to rule by decree… This is exactly what happened in Rome–the Senate was so paralyzed by infighting that a dictatorship was inevitable.

    Well… The mindset is not too far off as, in Toledo today to a rally audience, TRUMP said…

    “And just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? What are we even having it for? What are we having it for?”

    Potential Caesar – Meet the Roman Senate.

    .

    (… extra bonus points for third person self reference !!! Has this dufus even read the Constitution or Bill of Rights? )

  27. Ben Wolf says:

    Perhaps Democrats should stop trying to compromise with Republicans and treat them like the saboteurs they are.

  28. Scott says:

    I think a real investigation would be the Russian involvement in US elections. Including financial entanglements: business loans and such. That would be looking to the future, not some 10 year old mess.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    the strategy of obstructionism and delay that characterized much of the strategy that Republicans on Capitol Hill have engaged in

    I think you’re mischaracterizing this Doug. The Republicans don’t have a strategy. They find themselves in a situation where they literally cannot be “for” anything, only against. So they have to distract with this nonsense.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    The most childish bunch of sore losers you will ever see…apparently these twits don’t realize that by attacking Hillary in this way they will only make her stronger while making themselves look even more foolish…they’ll never learn

  31. Franklin says:

    Actually, maybe we’re all missing something here. Maybe this BS with placate all the people who think Hillary’s a criminal and should be in jail. And it probably won’t amount to anything, so besides a few bucks wasted (relatively speaking), maybe we should welcome this over armed rebellion.

  32. motopilot says:

    @Andrew:

    Republicans put party before the country.

    I used to think that, but then I started talking with some of them. (My brother and girlfriend, included.) In their heads they don’t put party before country. They think party is country. And those not in the party are not true Americans.

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @motopilot:

    In their heads they don’t put party before country. They think party is country. And those not in the party are not true Americans.

    But you’re talking about voters, the common clay of the new West real people. I think @Andrew: was talking about Republican politicians. And he’s wrong. They don’t care about party or country, they only care about their own careers.

  34. SKI says:

    David Frum got it right in 2010, when you constantly tell your base that the opponents are evil you don’t leave yourself any room to actually negoptiate and get stuff done. All you can do is keep beating that dead horse.

    We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

    There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

    I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.

    I think he lets off the GOP leaders too easily, they are the ones making the hysterical accusations (“people are saying…” and “questions are raised” caveats notwithstanding) but the basic thrust, that the GOP has given up on the ability to govern in exchange for motivating their base is sound.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    If I were Hillary I’d do two things:

    1) Use my executive powers to pardon myself and any close associates for any and all crimes.

    2) Choose Barack Obama as the next SCOTUS justice.

  36. Jen says:

    @michael reynolds: The “Obama blanket-pardons Hillary” and “Hillary pardons herself” has apparently been mentioned over in the Faux News fever swamp. If a president could pardon himself/herself, wouldn’t Nixon have done that? And is there such thing as a blanket pardon–I would think that it would have to be specific?

    Re: Obama on the SC–I just think Michelle deserves some happiness. She really doesn’t seem to like the DC bubble much at all.

  37. MBunge says:

    Meanwhile, in reality…

    Fivethirtyeight this morning raised Trump’s chance of winning to 18.7%.
    The poll average at Real Clear Politics gives Hillary a 5.2 point lead, less than the margin by which Obama beat McCain and I believe only 1.3 points more than he beat Romney. As of this morning, RCP is also listing both Pennsylvania and Texas as “toss up” states, which makes no damn sense in the world.
    And that ABC poll where Hillary was up 12 last week? She’s now up just 5, yet I somehow suspect that collapse in support won’t be reflected AT ALL in media coverage of the race.

    Why is this important? Not because it means Trump is going to win because he most likely will not. He still has a shot, though.
    It’s important because we’re witnessing, if you’re paying attention, the creation of a false reality. A communal lie, if you will. A false reality illustrated by both the original post and the pitifully predictable responses to it. It’s a communal lie where our entire political establishment WASN’T wrong about Donald Trump, where he didn’t just come within a bad debate performance and a sex scandal of possibly being the next President and where Hillary Clinton isn’t a awful politician with a long history of few accomplishments and atrocious judgment.

    Remember how it turned out when the crowd around Bush the Younger thought they could create their own reality? It’s not going to work any better this time.

    Mike

  38. Neil Hudelson says:

    @MBunge:

    Last week you were reminding us that all the poll going into the 2012 election were wrong, so we really can’t trust polls. Now you are saying the fact that Hillary’s poll numbers are smaller than Obama’s margin of victory, we really should pay attention to polls. Color me shocked, but it almost sounds like polls are good when they support your argument, but polls cant’ be trusted when they don’t.

    Anyway, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but horses can’t get any deader than “dead,” no matter how hard you try.

    With regard to the rest of your post, horsesh*t. Everyone here, and everyone who has even a smidgen of political intelligence, has been counting their lucky stars that Clinton was paired with Trump. There’s no alternative reality being built other than the one in which you are the lone prophet delivering truths too hard for the unbelievers to hear.

  39. An Interested Party says:

    Meanwhile, in reality…

    Ha! From you? That would be extraordinary…

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen:

    And is there such thing as a blanket pardon–I would think that it would have to be specific?

    Ford granted

    a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

  41. Mikey says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    There’s no alternative reality being built other than the one in which you are the lone prophet delivering truths too hard for the unbelievers to hear.

    I think the real alternative reality is one where he’s not secretly hoping Trump wins.