May 5th, 2014
04:08 PM ET
4 months ago

House Democrats unclear on whether they'll boycott Benghazi panel

(CNN) - The No. 2 House Democrat harshly criticized House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to move forward with a select committee to investigate the deadly Benghazi terror attack, and said Democrats haven’t decided if they’ll participate.

"We think this is a political, not a substantive effort," Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters on Monday about the new panel to probe the armed assault in September 2012 that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Hoyer said he would urge all fellow Democrats to vote against the bill creating the panel that’s expected to be on the floor as early as this week.

The GOP-led House is expected to approve it, but it’s possible Democrats could boycott the investigation.

Boehner said South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, would chair the committee. But Democrats have not received any details on its structure, funding or powers.

House Democratic leaders want more information before deciding how they would respond.

"If they (Republicans) want to have a substantive effort, it ought to be an equally balanced committee so this is not an exercise in partisanship. But we'll see whether that's the case,” Hoyer said.

Benghazi has become a political flashpoint in Washington and a rallying cry for Republican critics of President Barack Obama’s conduct of foreign policy.

Republicans have focused on the U.S. security posture before the attack in eastern Libya, the official response during the assault, and the Obama administration’s slow-to-evolve explanation of what occurred once it was over.

The issue boiled over in 2013, but had been simmering this year until new documents surfaced last week that prompted renewed GOP claims the administration politicized its public explanation of events in the days after the attack.

The White House said the new development was unrelated to Benghazi.

One senior House Democratic leadership aide echoed Hoyer's call for a 50/50 split among GOP and Democratic lawmakers.

The aide noted criticism Democrats raised in 2005 when Republicans formed an investigative panel to study the response to Hurricane Katrina and gave more slots to GOP members. At that time House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to appoint Democratic members.

Democrats also want to know whether Gowdy will be able to unilaterally issue subpoenas, or whether the panel would be required to have a majority vote before demanding new testimony or materials.

On Sunday Rep. Adam Schiff, a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the Benghazi select committee “a colossal waste of time, saying the House already had four investigations.

“I don't think it makes sense really for Democrats to participate. I think it's just a tremendous red herring and a waste of taxpayer resources,” Schiff said on Fox News.

Hoyer read quotes from Boehner in April when he said he opposed the creation of such a panel.

The "political pressure of the base" made the speaker change his mind, Hoyer said. He said he didn’t believe the panel would reveal any new information.

Hoyer raised a question for GOP leaders about Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, whose panel has taken the lead in investigating Benghazi.

"Either they think Mr. Issa is a competent chairman and is pursuing a competent investigation or they don't," Hoyer said.

Hoyer said Issa already had subpoena power to obtain testimony and documents, held "numerous hearings" and has found "no smoking gun, no wrongdoing."


Filed under: Congress • Libya • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Talk about beating a dead horse....

    May 5, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. rs

    I actually think the Democrats should not boycott Mr. issa's little inquisition, rather they should publicize it heavily and fact check everything very publicly. The GOP has nothing- and they know it. Time to call these anti-American, anti-government cowards out. Get the media involved and drown the GOP in their own idiocy.

    May 5, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. salty dog

    Horse beaten unrecognizable.

    May 5, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. pkMyt1

    Another dog and pony show by the GOP to keep everyone focused on how their Jobs, Jobs, Jobs mantra was just so much hot air. Worst part is this will waste millions of taxpayer dollars.

    May 5, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Hector Slagg

    UM, Sorry,
    Benghazi is an overall assessment of the current administration. Obama should be concentrating on Foreign Affairs rather than Taxing the Rich. Yes, talking about beating a dead horse that the liberals have ridden right into the ground.

    May 5, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    They should boycott any and every panel that has Darrell Issa as the chairman.

    May 5, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. bobo

    Why boycott? Don't you want to find out the Truth? What does it hurt to have a real investigation.... with All the emails, to find out if the Administration lied to us and the family of the four dead Americans?

    May 5, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    This has the classic trappings of a conspiracy theory gone political. I met a guy at the bus stop who predicts almost every week that space aliens are landing for absolute sure next week and it will be amazing. He predicts this week after week after week and still maintains that next week will be different.

    These Benghazers (good term?) will keep claiming that the last hearing was a cover-up and the next hearing, you just wait, will reveal the real, real, secret truth. And they will do this over and over, regardless of the reality around them.

    May 5, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. sofork

    If the Democrats do not join in, it just makes them look guilty like Obama.

    May 5, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    4 dead in Benghazi. 4,400 dead and 40,000+ permanently maimed in Iraq over a lie about WMD's. So what have we been investigating, almost non-stop, for the last 18 months?

    May 5, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. AzDem

    Why was a panel not created for the "Bush" wars?

    Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.

    Otto von Bismarck

    May 5, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Why not? Faux Noise has been boycotting the POTUS's press conferences, quite literally and explicitly stating that they're not going to cover him unless he's being asked about Derpghazi. This, after a report found that Faux has been so one-note tunnel-visioned on it that they mentioned it over 1,100 times over the past year. And Lexis/Nexus just removed the flagrantly false CBS reports about Derpghazi from its system. The MSM is in the GOP/Teatrolls' back pocket...plain and simple. They build their entire business model and viewer-attraction paradigm on serving up agitprop nontroversy and guess who's fabricating piles and piles of it on a daily basis for the MSM's benefit. The MSM knows who is buttering its bread.

    May 5, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Boehner said South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, would chair the committee."

    And he already has his conclusions mapped out. This is a guy who flipped out completely when the NYT published a report that contradicted and debunked the prevailing GOP/Teatroll talking points on Benghazi. He's in no way unbiased or objective and this entire thing is just another attempt to wring blood from a stone. They'll go through the motions, hold press conferences to keep it in the "news," issue redundant subpoenas, hold redundant hearings, have people who already testified testify all over again, hold secret "interviews" with people who they already interviewed...and then they'll release some nonsense "report" of their "findings" that reads like a 5th grader with no legal education wrote it and might as well have been written before they started the entire select committee process. Their "conclusions" are foregone. This is just a waste of time and designed solely to generate 2014 and 2016 election propaganda.

    May 5, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. sonny chapman

    Benghazi , Benghazi, Benghazi. Vince Foster, Vince Foster, Vince Foster. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.

    May 5, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. GOP = Greed Over People

    If the GOP baggers can walk out of conferences with no consequences, the Dems can certainly refuse to attend a trumped up charge, that is only believed and peddled over on Fox Fables.

    May 5, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    The Four Dead Americans. How about the 238 US Marines who were slaughtered in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983 when Ronald Reagan, against Military advice, put a Force in the middle of a Civil War.

    May 5, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Blake

    Boycotting it would just give the GOP full reign over the thing and lead to crazy witch hunt conclusions that go against what the other 5ish committees have concluded already, thus keeping the issue alive. I would protest the committee from within and when it turns up nothing, go after the GOP hard due to wasting millions more on this phony scandal.

    May 5, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. NamejJK. SFL. VOTE THE GOP ANTI-HEALTHCARE PARTY OUT iN NOVEMBER AND THE NEW RNC CHAIRMAN CLIVE BUNDY SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS

    I say , send all the GOP CLOWNS to bengazi to do an up close investigation and hope they don't make it back, the GOP the GARBAGE and SEWAGE of America!!!!!

    May 5, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Gurgyl

    -could you please stop this Benghazi crab, none interested, it is a fabricated one. Yes, Hillary16.

    May 5, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Tony

    It is ironic that Republicans believe Obama must be involved just because someone from the White House sent an e-mail. After all, Republicans believed Christie when he claimed that people in his office shut down the George Washington Bridge for several days without his knowledge.

    May 5, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. NamejJK. SFL. VOTE THE GOP ANTI-HEALTHCARE PARTY OUT iN NOVEMBER AND THE NEW RNC CHAIRMAN CLIVE BUNDY SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS

    With all the BLOOD on GOP hands, 9-11 2001 and Iraq ,4000 more on top of 3000 in 2001 . I don't know if the GOP should even bring up the death of four American heros????

    May 5, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @rs
    I actually think the Democrats should not boycott Mr. issa's little inquisition, rather they should publicize it heavily and fact check everything very publicly. The GOP has nothing- and they know it. Time to call these anti-American, anti-government cowards out. Get the media involved and drown the GOP in their own idiocy.
    ---------–
    That is a wonderful idea. We are getting all the reports about the hearings to date from people like Rush and Hannity. I have been shocked by the quotes they draw out of context or just make up from the hearing that imply the opposite of what was meant. They are twisting reality. If people saw the raw hearing for themselves, the conservative Inquisitors would appear in sick reality for what they are.

    May 5, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. DRAKE MALLARD

    Given the Republican obsession with Benghazi talking points, it’s time for a very specific flashback. In 2008, two non partisan groups released a study that determined that President Bush and his top aides made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001

    We Won’t ‘Let Our Campaign Be Dictated By Fact-Checkers’ THE GOP””

    May 5, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Lizzie

    Gurgyl
    -could you please stop this Benghazi crab, none interested, it is a fabricated one. Yes, Hillary16.
    -nice assessment, Benghazi never happen, it's all fabricated.

    May 5, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'm with Sniffit on this.
    Additionally may I point out that Democrats need to gel together.
    Who wants to read a wishy-washy story on whether or not they will boycott these hearings etc when the obvious and only answer should be to boycott?
    You validate their bs when you allow yourself to be a pawn in their game as opposed to standing firm and sending them and their convoluted, re-fried crap to hell.

    May 5, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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