Chris Jansing Surprises With Question About Real Motive of Democrats on Benghazi Committee

In a surprising display of real journalism, MSNBC’s Chris Jansing questioned Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on the May 22 edition of “Jansing and Co.” as to why House Democrats recently backed down from their former position of boycotting the new select committee on Benghazi. She asked Schiff why he agreed to join the committee after having personally decried the process as a “red herring [and] a colossal waste of time” that should be boycotted by all Democrats.

After Schiff explained that his party leadership made the call that it would be best to have Democrats on the committee to ensure the “subpoena process” isn’t abused and to “guide this committee to do something constructive,” Jansing cut to the chase. “Is the main role for you and other Democratic committee members to protect Hillary Clinton?” she demanded, having cited a recent “Politico” article that noted how Hillary Clinton’s aides specifically asked Democrats to join the committee. [See video below. Click here for audio]

Naturally the California Democrat denied the connection, insisting “the main role for Democrats is to make sure that this committee doesn't become a circus and a mere fund-raising vehicle for the GOP.”

Kudos to Jansing for questioning the true motive for the about-face by House Democrats, even if this is an aberration and not a sign of actual journalism to come.
 

5/22/2014
Jansing and Co.
10:08 AM
2 minutes and 16 seconds
 

CHRIS JANSING: Well full facts are what Republicans say they want in this committee that they're putting together on Benghazi. You're among the five democrats appointed by Nancy Pelosi to the select committee. You've called this a red herring, a colossal waste of time, you've previously said Democrats should boycott the process. So why participate now?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Listen, I do think this is a terrible abuse of taxpayer dollars and an abuse of the select committee process. Because we've had so many investigations over and over on this, as you know, Chris, we had a vigorous debate in the caucus about whether we should participate at all. Having had that debate our leadership made the call and I think it was a very tough decision that we should have people in the room to make sure that the subpoena process isn't abused, that witnesses aren't abused, and I respect that call. And once that call is made, then you go and you implement the decision that the leadership has reached. So that's what we're doing. If we can help guide this committee to do something constructive, frankly, that would be a service to the country and that means directing it to focus on what we can do to protect our people around the world, where are we in the hunt for those who have the responsibility, and not allow the committee to become a select committee on talking points or simply a way to make a political attack on the administration.

JANSING: I'm sure, Congressman, you've heard the suggestions and maybe you even saw the story in Politico today that says Hillary Clinton allies reached out to House Democrats and aides encouraging you folks to participate in this Republican investigation. So I'll ask you bluntly, is the main role for you and other Democratic committee members to protect Hillary Clinton?

SCHIFF: No. I think the main role for Democrats is to make sure that this committee doesn't become a circus and a mere fund-raising vehicle for the GOP, but that it serves some valid purpose in trying to keep this thing from going completely off the rails. If the Republicans are truly interested in learning something from Benghazi, in learning how to improve the security, if they're truly interested in bringing to justice those responsible, we will work with them. If they're simply interested in trying to embarrass the administration or fabricate conspiracy theories or go after a likely Democratic nominee for president, we will fight them, but it is my hope that as we profess, they will try to do something constructive.

Laura Flint
Laura Flint is a 2014 summer intern for the MRC's News Analysis Division.