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FROM THIS EPISODE

House Republicans are investigating the deaths of Americans in Benghazi all over again. Is it all about politics? Will there be any time left for Congress to address the economy, immigration reform and other issues until this year's elections are over? Also, pro-Russian Eastern Ukraine separatists declare independence. On today's Talking Point, will the Pentagon lift the ban on transgender soldiers?

Banner image: Earlier today, Speaker Boehner (R) met with South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy (L), who is to serve as chairman of the select committee to investigate the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, May 7, 2014. Official Photo by Heather Reed

Producers:
Jenny Hamel
Liyna Anwar
Benjamin Gottlieb

Pro-Russian Eastern Ukraine Separatists Declare Independence 7 MIN, 50 SEC

Yesterday's referendum in two provinces of eastern Ukraine was chaotic and sometimes violent. Voters were asked one question about self rule. Today — just two hours after ballots were counted — the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk asked to join Russia. Andrew Kramer is in Donetsk for the New York Times.

Guests:
Andrew Kramer, New York Times (@AndrewKramerNYT)

Benghazi, the IRS and the Business of Government 34 MIN, 29 SEC

Did the Obama White House cover up the real reason four Americans were killed in Benghazi in September, 2012? Did an IRS official conduct a political witch hunt? During 13 hearings by four committees over the past year, Congress has accumulated 25,000 pages of documents and testimony. Last week, insisting that Americans want to know the answers, House Speaker John Boehner appointed seven fellow Republicans to a special committee to conduct further investigation. Democrats claim the GOP's conducting a witch hunt of its own, using old news to raise money and motivate voters in this election year — and even in 2016. Will Hillary Clinton be tarnished? Will the IRS face a special prosecutor? Will serious business take a backseat to politics from now until November?

 

Guests:
Dana Milbank, Washington Post (@Milbank)
David Corn, Mother Jones magazine (@DavidCornDC)
Jonathan Tobin, Commentary magazine (@TobinCommentary)
Julian Zelizer, Princeton University (@julianzelizer)

More:
Becerra, Gowdy on Fox News Sunday
Corn on why there's no cure for the GOP's Benghazi fever
Milbank on Trey Gowdy, the Benghazi show trial
Milbank's 'Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes that Run Our Government'
Tobin on both parties facing traps on Benghazi, IRS
TtP on Washington in the Grip of IRS and Benghazi
Zelizer on 6 reasons Obama can't seem to catch a break

Homo Politicus

Dana Milbank

Transgender Americans Still Barred from Military 8 MIN, 39 SEC

Earlier this year, an independent commission led by a former US surgeon general said there "is not a compelling medical reason for US armed forces to prohibit transgender Americans from serving. Yesterday, on ABC's This Week, Defense Secretary Hagel said he's "open" to reassessing the transgender ban. Nathaniel Frank is visiting scholar at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America.

 



Guests:
Nathaniel Frank, Senior Fellow, UC Santa Barbara's Palm Center

More:
Frank on Obama and transgender military service
Report of the Transgender Military Service Commission (former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders)

Unfriendly Fire

Nathaniel Frank

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