Martin Bashir | November 16, 2012
>>> david petraeus made the most unshocking statement of this whole scandal thursday when he told a reporter he'd resigned because of an affair. that's not exactly breaking news. so why would he feel the need to state the obvious? because some on the right apparently have trouble believing the obvious. the idea that a man would resign a position after not meeting his own standard of honor is apparently so foreign to them that they prefer to engage in spurious and lurid speculation.
>> the regime is holding the scandal over petraeus ' head for favorable benghazi testimony.
>> was he influenced by the fact that he knew his fate was held by people in the administration at that time?
>> joining us now from washington is dana milbank , a political columnist for "the washington post ," and julian epstein, a democratic strategist. welcome to you both. if i might start with you, dana , i did think that benghazi was about four dead americans, but now i'm being told that it's about hi jinx in the officers mess and adultery.
>> it's all of the above. it's mushroomed into quite a thing here and it continues to occur after the election. i have a high respect for my " washington post " colleague charles krauthammer , somewhat else respect for limbaugh, but the whole thing would have seemed to be disproven today when petraeus goes to capitol hill , shows up and says exactly what everybody else in the administration has been saying now. if it was some sort of an effort to blackmail, he's now been outed, the whole thing happened, and he's, you know, he hasn't basically changed his tune. i'm not clear how that all works out.
>> right. okay. julian , geraldo rivera is playing the role of truth teller on this particular story on fox. take a listen to this.
>> and it really is a disgrace to a man who has served us honorable -- and a man who has --
>> let's not argue.
>> it's a question.
>> he saved our ass in iraq.
>> blaming a video and then going --
>> why -- let's not argue about david petraeus ' intreg rit.
>> you have just --
>> what has to happen --
>> i asked a question that a lot of other people are asking.
>> julian , i hope you were able to understand that.
>> i was not.
>> mr. petraeus says he -- i'll explain it. mr. petraeus says he resigned because he had not met his own high standards for decency and honor. why is this such a foreign concept to some on that couch?
>> well, this is the inspector clue sow wing of the conservative movement with a long and not too proud lineage. same group of people who you remember dan burton after vince vince -- committed sue said shot a mellon. this is the same people that pushed the fast and furious controversy. in addition to everything dana just said, which shows quite plainly that the theory is false, this is just wrong for a number of reasons. one is this whole blackmail idea, one, there's no evidence on it. two is anybody that's ever had any exposure whatsoever to an fbi investigation knows its virtually impossible to carry something like that off. third is it's entirely illogical illogical. the issue going on in enghazi we have learned is a -- was a cia operation at an outpost, and the criticism that the republicans seem to be making is that the reason that the attacks were successful was because someone had failed to provide enough security personnel. given that it's a cia operation , it seems to me that if there is going to be criticism about the lack of security personnel, the criticism would fall on the cia, not the white house . so the idea that the white house would be blackmailing petraeus to shield them from criticism is absurd given the fact if there will be any criticism at the end of the day , the criticism is likely to be on the cia. so this is just so fanciful and so ridiculous and idiotic on so many different levels it's hard to know where to start.
>> right. fair enough. dana , i want to play for you two pieces of sound, both from republican congressmen peter king . the first is from last night before today 's hearing where mr. king sounded ready to sac the whole white house . take a listen.
>> so when the president says that susan rice was giving out -- talking about the most updated and -- fully documented intelligence that the intelligence community had, that's not true.
>> last night the message was that susan rice was disseminating incorrect intelligence and the president is wrong for defending her. now here is mr. king today after an intelligence briefing.
>> did he seem concerned that things had been changed? was that surprising to you?
>> he seemed to say at the time they didn't realize the full significance of that and that or an unclassified statement it was acceptable. again, it's still very vague.
>> petraeus told king today that, quote, for an unclassified statement this was acceptable. again, it's still very vague. dana , to paraphrase the president, republicans got out in front of their own skis on this one, didn't they?
>> yes. well, in congress they have a tradition of revising and extending their remarks and i think peter king -- what peter king just said was "never mind."
>> what he said earlier, what do we do with that?
>> he was operating on incomplete information.
>> the story evolved.
>> like susan rice was earlier.
>> there's an important lesson here, martin, which is if you take your political cues from don trump's twitter feed, you will end up sticking your tail between your legs.
>> thank you very much, julian epstein and dana milbank . stay