House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday appointed five Democrats to serve on the new select committee on Benghazi — against the wishes of liberals pleading with her to protest the hearings by not participating.
Earlier this month, lawmakers in the House passed a bill to establish the new committee to investigate the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
The bill allows Speaker of the House John Boehner to appoint 12 members to the select committee, five of whom are Democrats chosen by Pelosi. The Democratic leader had previously called for there to be equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats on the committee, something Boehner declined to do.
Here are the five Democrats Pelosi named to the committee on Wednesday:
- Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member
- Rep. Adam Smith
- Rep. Adam B. Schiff
- Rep. Linda T. Sánchez
- Rep. Tammy Duckworth
Here are the seven Republicans Boehner named to the committee earlier this month:
- Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman
- Rep. Susan Brooks
- Rep. Jim Jordan
- Rep. Mike Pompeo
- Rep. Martha Roby
- Rep. Peter Roskam
- Rep. Lynn Westmoreland
The establishment of the committee comes after months of encouragement from Republicans.
Boehner long resisted these calls from members of his party to establish a select committee but gave in after emails released this month indicated that the White House played a bigger role than previously admitted in crafting the initial, now-debunked talking points on the attacks.
Democrats have argued that the investigations are partisan-driven and meant to try to harm former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a likely run for president in 2016.
Among those who have protested the formation of the committee include Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, who Pelosi named the ranking member of the committee. During a speech on the floor when the bill establishing the committee was debated, Cummings went as far as to say Stevens would not have wanted his death to be used for political purposes, citing quotes from the ambassador’s family.
“Unfortunately, that is what House Republicans have been doing for the last year and a half,” Cummings said.
The bill text says the Select Committee is “authorized and directed to conduct a full and complete investigation and study and issue a final report of its findings to the House.”
Among the topics the committee is tasked with investigating: “all policies, decisions, and activities that contributed to the attacks on United States facilities in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, as well as those that affected the ability of the United States to prepare for the attacks.”