It’s just been reported that Hillary Clinton will appear before the House Select Committee on Benghazi this month. She has refused Gowdy’s request to appear twice, the first time in a closed door session.
Obviously, she has a strategy in mind. I don’t know what will come of it, as Gowdy has stated that he must first have ALL the relevant emails before she can be questioned.
One thing should, must be obvious. The normal questioning procedure, 5 minute intervals, alternating between the majority and the minority, simply does not work. Members can’t develop a line of questioning in that short a time, and the witness will often bloviate to run out the clock, when the Democrats can either toss softballs or rail at how “unfair”,”unnecessary,” and “political” the whole hearing has become.
As one who has watched all of the public hearings to date, compared to other House hearings, the GOP members of the Select Committee have acquitted themselves very well.
But changes MUST be made.
I would suggest two obvious ones, which I believe are NOT precluded by any House rules.
First, after the Gowdy and Cummings have had the opportunity to question Clinton, and the chair and ranking member usually give themselves longer than 5 minutes, ALL questioning on the majority side should be done by one member. I would strongly suggest [mc_name name=’Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001284′ ].
Obviously, being female, it is a far better visual image. Brooks is, like Gowdy, an accomplished former federal prosecutor. She knows how to question a witness; she’s done very well in earlier hearings. And I think that her calm, low key demeanor will come across well. and she might even get under Clinton’s skin.
This can be done merely by having each GOP member yield his time to Brooks.
I don’t know if the Democrats would adopt the same strategy. If they do, it would soon become apparent that their designated questioner really has nothing to ask, or add. If the Democrats keep the regular procedure, then two of their members, [mc_name name=’Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S000030′ ] and [mc_name name=’Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000622′ ], would soon reveal themselves as airheads.
Second, as the Select Committee is small in size, indeed, smaller than most Senate committees, it should adopt a 15 minute interval for questioning. If the Democrats do not consent, then the GOP should vote to change the rule. Let the Democrats scream and wail. And having Democrats then,of necessity, tryt to fill 15 minutes with nothing of substance, will further reveal their attempt to conceal and obfuscate.
This hearing is crucial. The best outcome for the GOP is that Hillary comes across badly, trips over herself several times, and thus compels Gowdy to call her back to answer more questions, AND generates MSM support for another appearance. He must make it impossible for her not to accede to that demand.
And to insure that result, the hearing “battlefield” must be carefully prepped to achieve the desired outcome.
Adopting these two procedural changes will go a long way to producing the desired outcome.