Pelosi: I'll Decide on Benghazi Panel After Boehner Meeting

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 07:02 PM

By Greg Richter

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she won't decide whether Democrats will participate on the House select committee on Benghazi until after she has a meeting with Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

She also says Boehner is "trying to avoid the meeting." But it was Boehner who suggested the meeting in the first place, Pelosi said Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Democrats are divided on whether they should participate in the hearings, which they call a Republican witch hunt to hurt President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is expected to make a White House run in 2016.

Some Democrats feel they should boycott the hearing because several House committees already have taken up Benghazi since the Sept. 12, 2012, attack on the diplomatic facility in Libya that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. They say their participation on yet another committee would help justify its existence.

But others in the party say the hearings will take place with or without them, and they should be there to prevent them from being one-sided.

"We want to show the public how unfair this process is," Pelosi told Blitzer. "It should be evenly divided. They don't want it evenly divided. We said we should have equal access to witnesses. They said you may not ever have access to witnesses."

In creating the committee, Boehner named seven Republicans and provided seats for five Democrats to reflect the current makeup of the House, which is majority-Republican.

Blitzer also asked Pelosi to respond to comments made by Republican operative Karl Rove last week in which he reportedly wondered whether Clinton had brain damage after a fall that left her with a concussion and a blood clot near her brain in December 2012. Rove has since backed off.

"I think that Hillary's strength, her popularity, the prestige she enjoys, has driven the Republicans to their wits' end," Pelosi said. "I think what he said only makes her stronger."

Pelosi also noted that Rove likely was alluding to Clinton's age and that Rove himself is not much younger than Clinton.

"Maybe he's projecting his weaknesses onto somebody else," she said.

Rove backed off the comment after it was reported in the press on Monday.

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