WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats opened the door Tuesday to participating in a select committee investigation of Benghazi if they are equally represented on the panel with Republicans.
House Speaker John Boehner has named a GOP congressman to chair the select committee but has yet to outline his full plan. A vote to authorize the probe is expected this week. It is unlikely the Republican majority would accept the Democratic minority’s request for equal representation.
“If this review is to be fair, it must be truly bipartisan,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.
“The panel should be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans,” she said in a statement. “It should require that witnesses are called and interviewed, subpoenas are issued and information is shared on a bipartisan basis. Only then could it be fair.”
Republicans are sharpening their focus on the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post as midterm elections loom closer. In addition to the select committee vote, a senior GOP congressman has issued a subpoena to Secretary of State John Kerry to testify and the subject could surface in multiple congressional hearings this week.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Libyan port city. Twenty months on from the attack, Republicans have made Benghazi a central plank of their strategy to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats in November’s elections.
Republicans say the White House, concerned primarily with protecting President Barack Obama in the final weeks of his re-election campaign, misled the nation by playing down intelligence suggesting Benghazi was a major, al-Qaida-linked terrorist attack. They accuse the Obama administration of stonewalling congressional investigators ever since, pointing specifically to emails written by administration officials in the days after the attack but only released last week.