Should Democrats Boycott the Benghazi Committee?

Pelosi says they want equal representation.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Pelosi called on House Speaker John Boehner to cancel next week's recess until the House passes an extension of unemployment insurance.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
May 6, 2014, 6:43 a.m.

House Demo­crats still have to de­cide wheth­er to play ball on the se­lect com­mit­tee to in­vest­ig­ate Benghazi, as House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi calls for equal rep­res­ent­a­tion between parties on the pan­el.

Demo­crats will def­in­itely be vot­ing against cre­at­ing the com­mit­tee this week, say­ing that it’s a highly polit­ic­al en­deavor that is un­ne­ces­sary giv­en pre­vi­ous com­mit­tee hear­ings on Benghazi. But with Pelosi call­ing for an equal ra­tio of Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats on the com­mit­tee, she is giv­ing her col­leagues an out to not sit on the com­mit­tee should there be un­even num­bers of Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats — if it’s un­even, Demo­crats could ar­gue that it’s un­fair and there­fore they shouldn’t par­ti­cip­ate at all.

“If this re­view is to be fair, it must be truly bi­par­tis­an. The pan­el should be equally di­vided between Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans as is done on the House Eth­ics Com­mit­tee,” Pelosi said in a state­ment Tues­day. “It should re­quire that wit­nesses are called and in­ter­viewed, sub­poen­as are is­sued, and in­form­a­tion is shared on a bi­par­tis­an basis. Only then could it be fair.”

House law­makers are mak­ing their way back to Wash­ing­ton today, and will likely dis­cuss strategy in­form­ally dur­ing even­ing votes and dur­ing their con­fer­ence meet­ing Wed­nes­day morn­ing. If Demo­crats don’t par­ti­cip­ate at all, Re­pub­lic­ans will have a mono­poly on the wit­nesses called and ques­tions asked.

Some Demo­crats, such as Adam Schiff of Cali­for­nia, who sits on the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, have already called for boy­cot­ting the com­mit­tee. “I don’t think it makes sense for us to give this se­lect com­mit­tee any more cred­ib­il­ity than it de­serves,” he told Fox News Sunday. “And frankly, I don’t think it de­serves very much.”

A boy­cott wouldn’t be un­pre­ced­en­ted; as re­cently as 2005, Pelosi and then-Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id both re­fused to ap­point Demo­crats to a Re­pub­lic­an-led se­lect com­mit­tee to in­vest­ig­ate the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­sponse to Hur­ricane Kat­rina.

On Monday, a top Demo­crat, Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er, wouldn’t com­mit one way or an­oth­er on a boy­cott, say­ing that de­tails on how the com­mit­tee is or­gan­ized will need to be seen first.

It’s un­clear how the com­mit­tee will be made up. But in ref­er­ence to Pelosi’s state­ment, a spokes­man for House Speak­er John Boehner noted that in 2007, Pelosi over­saw the es­tab­lish­ment of a se­lect com­mit­tee on glob­al warm­ing made up of nine Demo­crats and six Re­pub­lic­ans.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., will be chair­man of the Benghazi com­mit­tee. He told The Green­ville News that he hopes Demo­crats will par­ti­cip­ate. “I still be­lieve that cer­tain things, if done the right way, can tran­scend polit­ics,” he said. “If I didn’t think [the se­lect com­mit­tee] could, I would not have ac­cep­ted the chal­lenge.”

What We're Following See More »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
20 hours ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
21 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
22 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login