House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday said Democrats have not yet decided whether they will participate in the select committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attack, and said Democrats are still looking for Republicans agree to give them more authority in that committee.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says Democrats want more assurances from the GOP before joining the Benghazi committee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Democrats are known to be split over whether to participate in the panel. Pelosi said some Democrats believe it will be a "kangaroo court" that ignores them, while others say Democrats should seek procedural concessions to ensure it works more fairly.
"What we've asked for is … as much bipartisanship as possible," Pelosi told reporters Friday before outlining what they are seeking.
"We must have standards where … a Democrat needs to concur in the issuance of subpoenas, decisions to depose witnesses, and a decision to interview witnesses, and with a decision to release any report, document or information by the committee or by the staff of the committee," she said. Pelosi declined to comment on how the Democrats would react if Republicans failed to make concessions in these areas.
Pelosi said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has told her he wants the select committee to operate fairly. She said that promise will need to be kept in light of Democratic criticism of how House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has handled the investigation.
Pelosi called Issa "damaged goods," and said Democrats are looking for more respect from committee leader Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
"We've been there, done this, over and over again," she said. "And so the question is, is there at least a level of decency in terms of respect?"
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has indicated that he is trying to work with Democrats on these demands. The basic structure of the committee won't change — it will be comprised of seven Republicans and five Democrats — but Boehner indicated some of the other procedural issues are in play.
"This doesn't need to be, shouldn't be, and will not be a partisan process," he said just before Thursday's House vote to create the select committee. "Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists in a well-coordinated assault, and we will not take any shortcuts to the truth, accountability or justice."
An aide to Boehner told TheBlaze Friday morning that the talks were ongoing.
"The speaker spoke with the minority leader on Wednesday," spokesman Michael Steel said. "Staff met yesterday, and those discussions continue."
Shortly after noon on Friday, Boehner named the full slate of seven Republicans that will serve on the Select Committee. In addition to Gowdy, Boehner named as members Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Peter Roskam (Ill.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.), Martha Roby (Ala.), and Susan Brooks (Ind.).