Supporters of Hillary Clinton lobbied House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for Democrats to participate in the Republican-led panel that will investigate the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 attacks against U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Politico
Pelosi's office denies that Clinton's camp made any such overtures, according to Politico.
On Wednesday, Pelosi held a news
conference to announce that while she opposed the creation of the committee there was no choice but for Democrats to take part. She named Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings as ranking member and also appointed Reps. Linda Sanchez and Adam Schiff of California, Washington Rep. Adam Smith, and Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
Veteran House Democrats Henry Waxman of California and Jerry Nadler of New York backed Pelosi's decision while continuing to question GOP motives. Waxman said Republicans were "trying to make a scandal" by going "after Hillary Clinton." Nadler commented that "even a kangaroo court" is "better off with a defense attorney."
Democrats told Politico that without their participation the panel would "exist solely as a political witch hunt."
Cummings said Clinton was perfectly capable of facing attack from Republican panel members noting that the Clintons are "used to being attacked.
New York Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel said GOP efforts to chip away at Clinton's reputation as secretary of state would fail, Politico reported.
Explaining why she decided that Democrats needed to take part, Pelosi said she is less worried about how Hillary Clinton and John Kerry will be treated by Republicans than other witnesses who might not be able to "fend for themselves."
Republicans can be expected to use the committee to build a case against Clinton's handling of the crisis and to press the former secretary of state and possible Democratic presidential candidate to testify, Politico reported.
The select committee's chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., has brought in lawyer, lobbyist, and former Republican operative Phil Kiko t
o serve as staff director.
Asked whether he would call Clinton to testify, the South Carolina Republican said "I'm not foreclosing any avenue of information," Politico reported.
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