House Republicans on Friday promised to let Democrats participate in overseas trips related to the ongoing investigation of the 2012 Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead.
On Friday morning, the House quickly passed a resolution authorizing the newly formed Select Committee on Benghazi to travel overseas as part of its work investigating both the terrorist attack, and the Obama administration’s response. The authorization for overseas travel was not included in the legislation the House approved in early May that created the committee.
But just before that vote, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) asked for an assurance that Republicans would tell Democrats about any overseas travel, and let them go on these trips. McGovern said during prior GOP investigations of Benghazi in the House, committee members did not always tell Democrats about their planned trips.
McGovern said specifically that Republicans went to Libya in 2012 without telling Democrats at all until they departed. Then, Republicans went to Libya again in 2013 without telling Democrats at all.
“This is no way to conduct a serious investigation,” McGovern charged.
In response, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) would be more fair to Democrats in the Select Committee.
“I want to assure the gentleman and each of the members of this body that the gentleman who will be the new chairman of the committee, Mr. Gowdy, has every intent to make sure that his work, the assignments that will be given as they move forward, including travel, will be done on a fair basis,” Sessions said on the House floor.
“Mr. Gowdy is aware of and knows the sensitive nature of not only the investigation, but also how this would be handled.”
McGovern said Democrats would be watching to ensure that promise is kept, and said to Democrats, fairness means consulting with Democrats. With that, the House approved the resolution in a voice vote.
As of Friday, there was no set schedule of meetings for the Benghazi committee, but both Republicans and Democrats have named 12 members to the committee.