Jolly says latest Benghazi investigation is "Not a witch-hunt"

  • David Jolly was joined by state Rep. Kathleen Peters at press event at Treasure Island Beach

Whether or not Democrats will participate in the House select committee investigating the deadly attacks that occurred in Benghazi remains an open question this weekend.

The issue is among the most partisan going in Washington these days, but David Jolly says the call for a yet another investigation into what happened on September 11, 2012 in Libya is completely the fault of the Obama administration.

"We arrived at the special committee as a result of stonewalling by the administration," the recently elected Congressman told CL on Saturday morning on Treasure Island Beach, referring to the email obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch last week from deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes to Susan Rice. the-then ambassador of the United Nations, shortly before she appeared on five Sunday public affairs shows in the days after the Benghazi attack. Rhodes wrote that Rice should underscore that the protests leading to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.

Republicans have called the email a "smoking gun," leading House Speaker John Boehner to call for the special committee. Democrats for the most part have downplayed its value, and ask what could possibly be unearthed by yet another investigation into that tragic event. Jolly says the email prompts the question about what else is out there?

"It's not a witch-hunt. It's now based on evidence that the administration withheld information from Congress," he said, and then echoed comments he made on the floor of the House earlier this week that the Obama White House has withheld the document "with an audacity rarely seen in modern politics."

As Cl has noted, several leading conservative opinion writers have cautioned the House Republicans that they must be careful in how they go about the latest investigation, and lead with facts and not partisanship that could turn off large segments of the American public. Jolly agrees that they must be careful and cautious going forward.

"We should not overreach. We should not play politics off of it. We should not fundraise off of it, but Congress has a constitutional responsibility, to provide oversight to the administration."

The Pinellas County Republican isn't happy about a lot of what President Obama and his administration have been doing, and says the public should be pleased that the GOP-led House is just fulfilling their constitutional duties to perform oversight.

"We have a president that rules by pen and paper. We have an Attorney General that selectively chooses which laws to enforce and which state he chooses to enforce them. We have a Veterans Administration that is withholding information from the Congress about the death of veterans. We have an IRS who targets groups that refuses to testify. The administration continues to flaunt the article One authority for the Congress to perform its oversight function - it’s not politics, it’s a proper execution of our responsibility."

Jolly spoke with CL after holding a news conference at Treasure Island Beach to announce that he was able to extend federal funding for ongoing beach renourishment for Treasure Island Beach.

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