House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi still won’t say whether she will appoint Democrats to participate in the newly formed House committee to investigate the attacks in Benghazi — explaining that her party is conflicted over whether it does them any good.
“The fact is this is a stunt,” Pelosi said in a Friday news conference at the Capitol about the committee. “This is a political stunt.”
On Thursday, lawmakers in the House passed a bill to formally 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. It comes after more than a year of various hearings from other committees in Congress.
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. But the Democratic leader wants the panel to be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.
Asked if Democrats will still participate even though the bill allows more Republicans than Democrats to serve on the committee, Pelosi said she will decide after having a conversation with Boehner.
“When I speak with the speaker, I’ll give you an answer as to what that will be,” Pelosi said.
The California Democrat acknowledged there is a full range of opinions within Democratic caucus on whether to participate.
“A lot of people say just let them show who they are with all of this,” she said of Republicans. “Any of our witnesses can hold their own in that venue. They don’t need us there to protect them. And then there is another school of thought that says we’ve seen how they operate, we should be there.”
She dismissed the rebuttal from Republicans that she once established a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that included more Democrats than Republicans. That committee only subpoenaed one witness in four years.
“This is a completely different set up,” she said.
Boehner last week ordered the establishment of the committee to investigate the attacks, tapping South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to serve as chairman.
The establishment of the committee comes after months of encouragement from Republicans.