Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, talks about the House Republicans' latest report on the Benghazi attack released yesterday on Tuesday's broadcast of MSNBC's Morning Joe. Transcript, via MSNBC:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: Joining us now from Capitol Hill, the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Congressman, thank you so much for being with us. We were just talking around the table, not just about your report but also other things that we've read over time, and this sounds like bureaucratic bungling along the order of what happened in the desert in 1980 in Desert 1 with the failed Iranian rescue. Military officials -- having you change uniforms four times? Three times, four times, while people were calling for help?
REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON BENGHAZI: Well, it's a little bit of that, Joe, but it's also the fact -- and this is a really stark reality -- at the time of the mortar attack, at 5:15 am, not a single wheel of a single U.S. military asset was headed towards Libya. So this was seven hours after the initial attack, and the world's most powerful military can't get a single wheel turning towards the region. That's in addition to the fact, as our committee learned -- nothing was ever going to Benghazi, Joe. Nothing. So the mortar attacks could have taken place at 7:15 am or 9:15 am or lunchtime on the 12th. The result would have been the same, because nothing was ever headed toward Benghazi despite what Leon Panetta testified to our committee that he ordered.
Gowdy responds to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who called him an overzealous prosecutor: "If anyone would recognize an overzealous prosecutor, it would be someone from Baltimore."
Gowdy also notes the Republican report on Benghazi mentions Hillary Clinton less than the Democratic report.
BRZEZINSKI: So, Democrats are saying that you conducted this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic core. To that, you say what?
GOWDY: If anyone would recognize an overzealous prosecutor, it would be someone from Baltimore, I will tell you that up front. Secondarily, he hasn't read the report. You read the report, and if you think it's an overzealous prosecutor -- we mention Secretary Clinton's name less times than the Democrats do, despite the fact our report is twice as long. So I would ask you and all of my fellow citizens, put aside what the Democrats say the report is going to be like. It's actually out. Read it for yourself, and read all of the new information that we found and what our focus is on. It is not on one person. It is on four people whose political ideations, I have no idea what they are.
Gowdy said Democrats "will be shocked when they read the report, if they do bother to read the report."
WALLACE: Why do you think that the conversation, though, has been so politicized? If you read the book, if you hear from the families whose sons and husbands have died, I think their aversion and distaste for the politics should quiet some of that. Why has this been so political? Is it because Hillary Clinton is running for president? Or is there anything that the committee under your direction did to get off on the wrong foot?
GOWDY: Well, we got off on the right foot. Remember, even Dana Milbank complimented our first hearing, which may be the seventh sign of the apocalypse.
WALLACE: (laughter) Maybe that was your problem.
GOWDY: So -- well, it was a problem on the right but not on the left. This is what I think happened. I think Mr. Cummings and the other Democrats just assumed that the Republicans were going to do what they thought we were going to do, which was a political exercise. They will be shocked when they read the report, if they do bother to read the report. It is a series of heroic acts by our fellow Americans, and what we can do to prevent the next. Yes, Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State at the time. I can't get around that fact. But the focus of this report is on exactly what the families asked us to focus on, and shame on the Democrats for figuring that out two years too late.
Gowdy is asked for his takeaway from the whole Benghazi investigation:
JON MEACHAM, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RANDOM HOUSE: Congressman, what is the lesson that the country should take from your report?
GOWDY: That Congress does a lousy job of conducting apolitical, nonpartisan investigations and the American people deserve better.