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Press Virginia

(2,329 posts)
Mon May 16, 2016, 06:55 PM May 2016

White House aide refuses to testify

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House confirmed on Monday that Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, would not testify at a House oversight panel on Iran on Tuesday.
The panel had asked Rhodes to appear after a New York Times article had suggested that he had manipulated the public debate over the Iran deal.

Read more: https://ca.news.yahoo.com/national-security-adviser-not-testify-house-panel-white-202754165.html

Why? Other than the GOP making a big deal about it, if the deal was so good why not defend it?

Press Virginia

(2,329 posts)
3. Shouldn't he answer for his claims? If the deal was constructed on a lie
Mon May 16, 2016, 07:11 PM
May 2016

don't we have the right to know why? If it wasn't, shouldn't we get an answer as to why he made his claim?


(10,650 posts)
5. His claim, alledgedly, was that he manipulated public opinion.
Mon May 16, 2016, 07:42 PM
May 2016

That covers a lot of ground and doesn't necessarily mean anyone lied. Everyone in Washington is trying to manipulate public opinion--that's politics.


(37,939 posts)
7. Yeah I really believe the republicans are after any truth.
Mon May 16, 2016, 08:19 PM
May 2016

They're after Obama. Never trust a republican.


Press Virginia

(2,329 posts)
12. A presser by President Obama would head it off
Tue May 17, 2016, 07:20 AM
May 2016

it'll be used as a campaign issue if Rhodes comments are left unexplained


(10,650 posts)
4. He shouldn't have been yapping in public. That was foolish.
Mon May 16, 2016, 07:40 PM
May 2016

Now he and the White House are in a no win situation. They'll have to take the path that produces the least harm.

I think that would be Rhodes testifying and stating that he simply misspoke or exaggerated or was misinterpreted or something along those lines. Better to take a short term hit than allow the republicans to blow something so minor up into a major "scandal".


(23,664 posts)
9. Nobody should ever be allowed to get away with a claim that they "misspoke"
Tue May 17, 2016, 12:27 AM
May 2016

I wish somebody would tell me WTF that even means.

His brain lost all control over his mouth and the words that came out were not what he intended to say?

Satan made him say those things?

No, what it means is (a) he lied and got caught (this is the Hillary Clinton type of misspeaking), or (b) he said something so utterly stupid that he is ashamed he said it but lacks the cojones to take the consequences for it.

Midnight Writer

(20,737 posts)
10. The public debate is irrelevant. The Republican controlled Congress voted for it.
Tue May 17, 2016, 12:46 AM
May 2016

Is he being accused of manipulating the Congressional vote? Did they not do their own thinking? Did they not have access to facts and intelligence the rest of America don't?

I am so sick of this shit from Congress. They control both Houses. They have the power of the purse, the power of oversight and the power to pass legislation. Instead, it is investigate the White House for their own failings.

Here's the deal; if they want a more aggressive stance against ISIS, they need to vote war powers and funding to deal with it.

If they want a strict public rest room policy, they need to pass a law and deal with it.

If they want to defund Planned Parenthood, pass a law.

If they want to deport and criminalize undocumented immigrants, pass a law along with funding.

If they are worried about the influence of money on elections and public officials, pass a fricking law along with the funding and power to implement it.

These assholes just sit on their hands expecting the Administration to deal with all of the problems, then bitch and launch investigations. At the same time, they hold themselves blameless.


(59,336 posts)
15. This is all grandstanding as there is no law governing how people frame stories for the media
Tue May 17, 2016, 08:26 AM
May 2016

The fact is that in CONGRESS, the deal was sold and explained primarily by John Kerry and Ernie Moniz. Nothing said by these two men was guided by Rhodes, who knew less than they did about the deal. The questions asked dealt with what was in the deal - not the history of getting it.

Not to mention, the NYT magazine article, written by a writer who in 2009 was in favor of bombing Iran, was ostensibly a puff piece on Rhodes, but was intended to re-litigate the Iran deal. As such, it's main contention was that the deal really was made before Rouhani took office. In fact, that is an incredible stretch. It builds on the truth that the US initiated contact in 2011 - 2012. Oddly, it is implicitly using HRC's attempt to take more credit than anyone else gives her. Part of that is taking credit for everything done by Jake Sullivan and William Burns - even though their success was NOT in 2011/2012, but in 2013 when they reported to Biden and Kerry respectively. Not to mention, that success was to get to a point where investing diplomatic effort was considered worthwhile. That led to the phone call between Obama and Rouhani.

Then (Fall 2013) the negotiation was in the open and Wendy Sherman was the negotiator, with Kerry leading it. Kerry and his peers - including Fabius of France had weeks of negotiations with Zarif to define the interim deal - so, no it was not basically all done in 2012.

Not to mention, this was just the interim deal and the writer is hoping that people will not know that the interim agreement was a small trust building agreement that - while future negotiations were going on - froze Iran's program for very minor reduction in sanctions. Not to mention, though many cheered that the interim deal was made as opposed to talks ending in failure, President Obama in many interviews still gave a less than 50% chance for a final deal. Jake Sullivan predictably said it was not as good as it should have been and HRC was rather ambivalent neither praising or faulting that early deal.

However, what the writer completely ignores is the more than a year of long hours, days, weeks, months of negotiation to get the framework and the final deal. This completely ignores the tremendous work of Moniz, who as a nuclear physicist led a US effort to design the monitoring regime that follows the entire process. It ignores the amount of time and effort spent by every one of the P5 plus 1 and the number of times the chances to get an agreement seemed dim.

What the author turns on its head are comments that Rhodes, among other things, used an argument that agreeing to the deal would help the moderates in Iran versus the hard liners to suggest he distorted the history of when the deal started. Given the election results it is very likely the argument was completely correct - and the fact that the first contacts were made before Rouhani does not make that argument less real.

In addition, arguing that the entire complex final deal was essentially agreed to in 2012 is nonsense. This NYT article has what is the best description of what was happening in 2012 - http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/us/politics/for-hillary-clinton-and-john-kerry-divergent-paths-to-iran-nuclear-talks.html?_r=0 Not to mention, the author ignores that 2012 was an election year - not an auspicious time to move to make a deal that would have caused AIPAC to go ballistic.

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