Benghazi panel Democrats

Benghazi News: Democrats Break Down, Join GOP-Led Panel After All

The Benghazi special committee led by House Republicans will not be fair, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday, but Democrats will take part in the committee’s investigation anyway. After contemplating a boycott of the Benghazi panel, Pelosi broke down and appointed five Democratic representatives, including a disabled war veteran, to the new Benghazi committee.

Pelosi said that her belief that the latest Benghazi investigation led by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina will be biased, is “all the more reason for Democrats to participate.” The five Democrats Pelosi appointed Wednesday will “bring some openness and transparency to what’s going on,” she said.

Pelosi: No Pressure From Clinton To Place Democrats On Benghazi Panel

Pelosi also brushed aside a report that appeared on the Washington insider news and gossip site Politico Wednesday, which said that Pelosi was pressured by people close to former Secretary of State — and probable 2016 presidential candidate — Hillary Clinton to appoint Democrats to the Benghazi committee.

“Republicans are making it clear they plan to use the power of the Benghazi Select Committee to continue to politicize the tragedy that occurred in Benghazi, which is exactly why Democratic participation in the committee is vital,” said a person identified by Politico as “a Democrat close to the Clinton World.”

The “Clinton world” Democrat went on to tell Politico, “Inevitably, witnesses ranging from Secretary Clinton to Secretary [John] Kerry will be subpoenaed to testify, and the Democrats appointed to the committee will help restore a level of sanity to the hearings, which would otherwise exist solely as a political witch hunt.”

But Pelosi flatly denied that anyone in the Clinton camp had even contacted her, much less pressured her, and that protecting either Clinton or Kerry was not a factor in her decision to add Democrats to the Benghazi panel.

“We don’t think that Secretary Hillary Clinton or Secretary John Kerry or the others need our help in the room,” said Pelosi.

Democrats Appointed Include Wounded Iraq Veteran Tammy Duckworth

Among the five Democrats Pelosi named to the Benghazi panel was Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a wounded Iraq War veteran who lost both of her legs when a Black Hawk helicopter she co-piloted was shot down by Iraqi insurgents firing a rocket propelled grenade in 2004.

The other Democrats who will serve on the Benghazi panel are: Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland; Rep. Adam Smith of Washington; Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California; and Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, also of California.

“We needed someone in that room to simply defend the truth,” said Cummings Wednesday, at the announcement of his new role on the Benghazi panel.

All five Democrats have participated in earlier Benghazi inquiries, which puts panel chair Gowdy under pressure to stick to newly uncovered facts, if any come up during the hearings, and not simply recycle information from previous Benghazi hearings.