Maj. Bradley Podliska, an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve who describes himself as a conservative Republican, told CNN that the committee trained its sights almost exclusively on Clinton after the revelation last March that she used a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. That new focus flipped a broad-based probe of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, into what Podliska described as “a partisan investigation.” [CNN]
THE HOUSE BENGHAZI committee is taking direct fire from one of its own intelligence experts, who also believes “Hillary Clinton has a lot explaining to do.” Maj. Podliska further stated that shifting resources to “hyper focus” on Clinton took attention away from other people and agencies worthy of equal scrutiny.
This latest revelation comes as Democratic presidential candidates are set debate on Tuesday, with Clinton prepared the following week to face Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi committee, whose mandate is now seen as a purely partisan witch hunt to take down the Democratic frontrunner. This is not only because of Podliska’s revelations, but because of remarks made by Rep. Kevin McCarthy that are still roiling the House.
Maj. Podliska is reportedly filing a lawsuit over his firing, which puts him in whistleblower territory.
“My thing was actually related to Hillary — I just wasn’t all in on Hillary,” he said in the interview. “I was finding other officials at other agencies that bore responsibility for the post-attack piece.” [New York Times]
The Benghazi committee developments cannot be overstated in their importance to Clinton’s presidential hopes, because she continues to slide among Democrats, with two prime opportunities for Hillary to clear the decks and position herself once again as the formidable presidential candidate she was at the beginning of 2015.
As she does so, however, there is someone else on stage with something to prove and advantages to expand, which will manifest by virtue of being on the same stage with Hillary Clinton. From Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein
If the debate presents a critical moment for Clinton, it could be a veritable launching pad for Sanders. The Vermont senator has drawn tremendous crowds at his campaign rallies. And in a few short months, he has built a grassroots fundraising apparatus that has allowed him to nearly keep pace with the Clinton campaign and its decades of connections with big donors. But Sanders’ team feels he has barely been introduced to a wider audience.
“I don’t think it has begun to happen for most of America,” said Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Sanders. “I know he has gotten a lot of attention, and certainly we are pleased with where we are in Iowa and New Hampshire. But I think in terms of the country getting to know him, we have only begun to scratch the surface.”
While a highly watched forum on CNN will surely provide that introduction, it’s also a stage the size of which Sanders has yet to experience. To prepare, Devine said Sanders has studied briefing materials and held talks with policy advisers. The campaign won’t have a “full-blown mock debate,” but will sit around a table and ask the senator potential questions, “making sure he is familiar with his own record and his opponent’s records.”
Sanders on “Meet the Press” hinted at his overall debate strategy.
Sen. Bernie Sanders pointed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s evolution on various policy issues, suggesting Sunday his “consistency” was an asset against her in the Democratic presidential primary.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sanders listed a number of progressive stances he had held from the start, that Clinton only recently came around to — opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in particular.
Voters will have to “contrast my consistency and my willingness to stand up to Wall Street and corporations, big corporations, with the secretary,” he said.
The establishment press is already gearing up.
“If Hillary Clinton makes one mistake in this debate she will pay for it. Sanders has a bigger margin of error,” proclaimed Mark Halperin on “With All Due Respect” last week.
That’s the price you pay for being the Democratic frontrunner and the candidate most people still assume with be the Democratic nominee. If for no other reason than the Democratic establishment will forcefully oppose nominating Bernie Sanders, someone who is not a registered Democrat, but whom the establishment also believes is “too far left” for the general election. There is no way the DNC won’t wrangle super delegates to oppose a Sanders candidacy with all of the party rules and machinations at their disposal.
They won’t be able to do that, however, unless Hillary Clinton regains what she has lost through the discoveries that came out of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi committee. The fact is that it’s his committee who stumbled on Clinton’s private email server that began Hillary’s slide in the polls.
Can Hillary Clinton unring that bell?
It’s what October is all about.