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“Failing To Deliver The Goods”: With Clinton Exonerated, Conspiracy Theorists Turn On Trey Gowdy

With the Republicans’ Benghazi Committee uncovering no meaningful new information, and with the panel’s investigation effectively exonerating Hillary Clinton, right-wing conspiracy theorists this week had no choice but to give up and find a new hobby.

No, I’m just kidding. They’re actually redirecting their ire towards Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

Just yesterday, I predicted that some conservatives would turn on Gowdy, in whom they’d invested so much hope. The far-right South Carolinian was supposed to bury, not exonerate, Hillary Clinton, I wrote, and his inability to deliver a useful campaign weapon will likely be seen as both a failure and a betrayal.

A few hours later, far-right radio personality Michael Savage told his audience, “Trey Gowdy should be impeached for wasting my time! He promised us a lot! Remember?” (Members of Congress can be expelled, but not impeached, under the U.S. Constitution.)

Of course, Savage isn’t alone. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank explained today that “conspiracy-minded” conservatives are blaming Gowdy “for failing to deliver the goods.” There was a meeting yesterday of the “Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi,” where members agreed the far-right South Carolinian let them down by failing to confirm their beliefs.

A woman in the crowd floated a new Benghazi conspiracy. “Has someone in the GOP leadership gotten their fingers involved in watering down some of this to benefit Secretary Clinton?” she asked. Nobody rebutted this idea.

Herein lies a lesson for Republicans who are perpetually trying to appease the far right: It’s a fool’s errand. They went to the tea party – and now they’re taking Donald Trump to the prom. Likewise, then-House Speaker John Boehner named the Benghazi committee because activists were dissatisfied that seven previous congressional investigations had failed to uncover major scandal material. Now an eighth has produced more of the same – and the agitators are as agitated as ever.

There’s a certain twisted logic to this. The unhinged right starts with the ideologically satisfying answer – President Obama and Hillary Clinton are guilty of horrible Benghazi-related wrongdoing – and then works backwards, looking for “proof” that matches the conclusion. When their ostensible allies fail to tell these activists what they want to hear, they could reevaluate their bogus assumptions, but it’s vastly easier to believe Republicans have let them down.

Wait, it gets worse.

As Milbank reported, a former Ted Cruz adviser complained yesterday that Gowdy “did not draw a connection between the dots.” And why not? According to retired Gen. Thomas McInerney, the Benghazi Committee chairman “had his reasons – political” for holding back.

McInerney “speculated that congressional leadership had approved ‘black operations’ to run weapons from Benghazi to Islamic State forces in Syria.”

This is what it’s come to: Benghazi conspiracy theorists are so creative, and so unmoved by evidence or reason, that they can convince themselves that congressional Republicans are in on the conspiracy.

As Donald Trump and his allies try to incorporate ridiculous Benghazi rhetoric into their 2016 platform, keep in mind who his unhinged allies are.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Hillary Clinton, House Select Committee on Benghazi, Trey Gowdy | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The ‘Dump Trump’ Effort Needs A Miracle”: Members Are Not There Yet And May Never Get There

As a matter of procedural necessity, the effort to convince Republicans to push aside Donald Trump as their presidential nominee begins and ends with an initiative to change party rules that bind most delegates to the primary and caucus results. It will take one-fourth of the convention Rules Committee — 28 out of 112 members — to ensure a vote on an “unbinding” resolution on the floor after the convention has formally begun. A report in The Hill suggests Dump Trump members are not there yet and may never get there.

Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate leading the Dump Trump forces on the Rules Committee, only has 17 hard pledges of support for an “unbinding” resolution (though she claims additional “soft pledges”).

On a separate front, an anti-Trump delegate in Virginia has filed a lawsuit in federal court for relief from a state law that binds him to the primary results. Such laws affect an estimated one-third of the delegates. But as nomination-process wizard Josh Putnam persuasively argues, the suit, even if successful, does not do anything about state party rules that bind delegates independent of state laws or of national party rules. One reading of the situation is that delegation chairs are authorized to cast their state’s votes according to primary or caucus votes whether or not individual delegates consider themselves “bound.” And that could be a problem even if the Rules Committee revolt somehow succeeded and the convention voted to unbind itself.

All in all, it seems safe to say that something earth-shaking will have to occur in the larger political landscape to give the Dump Trump movement anything like real traction. As one of its warriors admitted to The Hill: “[Dump Trump needs] someone, somewhere, like [RNC Chairman] Reince Priebus or [Speaker] Paul Ryan or [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell to show an ounce of leadership if they’re to be successful. That’s been nonexistent so far.”

It’s hard to imagine all of that changing in less than three weeks.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, June 30, 2016

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Delegates, Republican National Convention | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Donald Can’t Afford His Own Ego Trip”: Does Donald Trump Even Have $45 Million To Repay His ‘Loans’?

A few weeks ago, the Trump campaign tried to quash rumors of its financial demise by announcing that Trump would write off the $45 million in loans he had used to “self-fund” his campaign.

Trump spokes Hope Hicks says Trump will submit signed statement today to FEC forgiving $50 mil personal loan per legal requirement.

— Beth Reinhard (@bethreinhard) June 23, 2016

After that statement, a far-too-small-handful of political journalists responded: Show us the money.

Why? As The National Memo has reported, since Trump began bragging about his financial independence, “self-funding” doesn’t really mean self-funding. It’s a talking point: Trump can repay his loans with donations from supporters at any time before the Republican convention and walk away from this campaign having pulled off the most cost-efficient advertising campaign in history.

So far, that seems to be the case. According to NBC News, whose Ari Melber has tracked the promise in recent days, the FEC maintains that Trump hasn’t converted any of his loans into donations, and the Trump campaign itself is refusing to release any documentation that would prove Trump has donated his campaign anything.

Campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks told NBC that the paperwork “will be filed with the next regularly scheduled FEC report [on July 20],” but declined to provide any documentation proving that claim.

Of course, that’s what she did last time.

In the meantime, what about the rest of Trump’s campaign? HIs fundraising efforts may have just broken federal law, and it is currently tens of millions of dollars in debt on top of what Trump has promised to pay. By all financial measures, billionaire Donald can’t afford his own ego trip.

 

By: Matt Shuham, The National Memo, June 30, 2016

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Finance Laws, Campaign Financing, Donald Trump | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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