Velshi Mourns The Demise Of ‘Useful Committees’ As GOP Takes Control

News & Politics

For his Saturday show, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi began by lamenting that McCarthyism is coming back to the House of Representatives as Republicans take control and that the era of “useful committees” is over, or at least temporarily over.

Giving a viewers a history lesson, Velshi explained that, “the House on un-American Activities Committee was meant to investigate communism and pro-Nazi groups in America, but in reality, it conducted a vest again based mainly on conspiracy and paranoia. Including communism in Hollywood, and it recommended the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II.”

Other examples of political committees include more examples of Republicans:

Okay, flash forward to December 12, 2016, the final day of the House Select Committee on Benghazi led by the South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy. The end of a seemingly endless investigation undertaken by Republicans, which began at least on the surface as investigation into the 2012 terror attack in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, but which immediately turned to a political sideshow meant to inflict political damage on the then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and as a reminder, you have to take my word for that.

To prove his point, Velshi then played a clip of Kevin McCarthy from 2015 declaring, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

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Velshi never considered that there was a good reason why Clinton’s poll numbers were dropping. Instead he offered up some of what he considered to be good committees. Naturally, they all involved investigations of Republicans, “It is important to note that in addition to extremist political investigations, congressional committees do important and historic work. To name just a few, the Watergate committee. The multiple committees which investigated Iran Contra. The committee which investigated the Teapot Dome scandal which found corruption during President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet.”

Singling out the Teapot Dome investigation for further discussion, Velshi added that it, “The Teapot Dome investigation also led to the Revenue Act of 1924, which granted Congress the right to subpoena and obtain any Americans tax records, and that has played a central role in the not successful Congressional effort to obtain the tax records of America’s twice impeached insurrectionist former president.”

It was successful in obtaining the tax records. It was not successful in making some great and profound argument.  

Velshi then reached for another example, “Speaking of which, there is also the House Select Committee on the January 6th attack, which disbanded only weeks ago. Useful committees. But that era, at least to the time being, is gone and the new Republican-led house is vowing investigations into the investigation of the insurrection.”

The Benghazi committee was political attempt to make someone look bad, but the January 6 wasn’t? Nobody, believes that. Velshi also has a selection bias problem. He ignored Democratic scandals and wants to focus on the “investigations into the investigation” while he ignores new committees that got overwhelming bipartisan support.

This segment was sponsored by T-Mobile.

Here is a transcript for the January 21 show:

MSNBC Velshi

1/21/2023

8:02 AM ET

ALI VELSHI: And much like McCarthy 12 years later, on the surface, the House on un-American Activities Committee was meant to investigate communism and pro-Nazi groups in America, but in reality, it conducted a vest again based mainly on conspiracy and paranoia. Including communism in Hollywood, and it recommended the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. 

Okay, flash forward to December 12, 2016, the final day of the House Select Committee on Benghazi led by the South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy. The end of a seemingly endless investigation undertaken by Republicans, which began at least on the surface as investigation into the 2012 terror attack in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, but which immediately turned to a political sideshow meant to inflict political damage on the then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and as a reminder, you have to take my word for that.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. 

VELSHI: Hey, remember, this is why committees are important. We will have more by the way on that man, the current speaker, Kevin McCarthy, any moment. It is important to note that in addition to extremist political investigations, congressional committees do important and historic work. To name just a few, the Watergate committee. The multiple committees which investigated Iran Contra. The committee which investigated the Teapot Dome scandal which found corruption during President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet. 

The Teapot Dome investigation also led to the Revenue Act of 1924, which granted Congress the right to subpoena and obtain any Americans tax records, and that has played a central role in the not successful Congressional effort to obtain the tax records of America’s twice impeached insurrectionist former president. 

Speaking of which, there is also the House Select Committee on the January 6th attack, which disbanded only weeks ago. Useful committees. But that era, at least to the time being, is gone and the new Republican-led house is vowing investigations into the investigation of the insurrection.

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