Growing Number of Dems Oppose Benghazi Committee Boycott

Thursday, 08 May 2014 04:46 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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While most Democratic lawmakers oppose forming a new select committee to investigate the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, a growing number of them are arguing against boycotting the committee.

"I think it would be very valuable for people to see us fighting, particularly a fight I know we can win," Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat,  told BuzzFeed.  "The other side on this is clearly acting politically and they do not have a leg to stand on and I say that as someone who has spent hearing after hearing on Benghazi."

If Democrats boycott the committee, Himes and others said, they fear that could give Republicans a free pass to use the committee to launch political attacks on the Obama administration.

"I think if we had a talented team of thoughtful, articulate members, we could draw a huge contrast between a nakedly political, fact-less other side," Himes said.

Democrats argued during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday the calls to boycott House Speaker John Boehner's call for a bipartisan committee.

Urgent:
Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

The group will meet again on Friday to debate the issue before deciding whether to participate in another investigation of the terror attacks, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, sources said.

Boehner said Tuesday that the committee will consist of seven Republicans and five Democrats and will have subpoena power to conduct a full and complete investigation.

"This committee's structure, scope, and capabilities represent a responsible approach, reflecting the seriousness of what happened in Benghazi as well as the Obama administration's unacceptable lack of cooperation in the time since," Boehner said.

The Ohio Republican announced that he had posted the resolution for the panel to the House Rules Committee. The GOP-controlled House was expected to easily approve the resolution for the committee.

Boehner is calling for another investigation after emails surfaced in April that implicated the White House in telling then-UN Adviser Susan Rice to underscore a controversial anti-Muslim video, not terrorism, as the cause of Middle East protests when she made her appearance on several TV talk shows on the Sunday following the attacks.

"Our system of government is built on an assumption of transparency," Boehner said. "It is unfortunate that it has to come to this, but when four Americans are killed by terrorists in a well coordinated assault, the American people will not tolerate the evasion we have seen from the White House."

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a prosecutor who has made repeated calls for further investigation into the Benghazi attacks, was tapped to chair the panel.

Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have complained about the committee's uneven split between Republicans and Democrats, saying that she wants to appoint fewer than the allotted five members to show the party's disdain with the process while still making sure Democrats were involved to monitor the investigation. 

However, Florida Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings said that it would be in Democrats' best interest to participate all the same.

"My overall view is they are going to make much of it either way," Hastings told BuzzFeed. "And if they’re going to conduct an investigation, I want to have five of our very sharpest people — who are calm, collected, and good students — who are going to participate. You can’t win arguing on the outside with this crowd."

Urgent: Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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