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What was the political fallout from the Benghazi investigations?

The events impacted Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and more.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) hold a news conference about Benghazi at the U.S. Capitol October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Most notably, the person widely believed to be Obama’s first choice to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State — former UN Ambassador Susan Rice — was forced to pull her name due to Republican pressure over Benghazi. Rice had very publicly made the case that Benghazi was a protest gone wrongly, and Republicans demanded her head after the talking points she based her comments on turned out to be false.

But Rice is hardly the only example. After CBS News aired its famously error-filledBenghazi segment on October 28th, 2013, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham threw a fit. McCain threatened to block Janet Yellen, Obama’s nomination to chair the Federal Reserve, until the Administration released unspecified new information about Benghazi.

Graham took it to the next level. He threatened to block literally every White House appointment until survivors of the attack testified before a new joint committee. Graham repeated this threat even after the survivor whose narrative underpinning the CBS expose was himself exposed to be a phony, though the Senator’s ultimatum ended up having little impact on policy.

The political pressure continues today, with GOP presidential hopefuls like Ted Cruz hammering Hillary Clinton on Benghazi as recently as January 2014. Conservative operatives are telegraphing plans to hit her on it during her expected presidential run, and right-leaning pollsters are already releasing Benghazi-focused polling.

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