House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday appointed five members to the newly-formed Select Committee that will probe the Obama administration's handling of the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Pelosi and other House Democrats had floated the idea of boycotting the committee -- arguing that they split between Republican and Democratic members was unfair -- but ultimately chose to participate in the probe.
The ranking Democrat on the committee will be Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who as ranking party member on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was present at many of the explosive Benghazi hearings conducted by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
"We must be in pursuit of fairness and transparency, not only for the families of these great Americans who we lost, but also for the American people," Cummings said.
Other Democrats named to the committee by Pelosi were:
- Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee
- Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), Committee on Appropriations (Subcommittee on State & Foreign Operations), Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.), Committee on Ways and Means (Subcommittee on Oversight)
- Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Armed Services Committee, Committee on Oversight & Government Reform
The committee, announced earlier this month by the GOP House leadership, is the latest in a series of probes into whether the attacks -- which left four Americans dead just weeks before the 2012 presidential election -- were properly handled by the State Department.
Democrats criticized the creation of the committee, with several prominent House Democrats calling on the caucus to boycott it unless it was divided 50-50 among Democrats and Republicans.
The prospects of a Democratic boycott seemed to increase when Boehner announced that the committee would consist of seven Republicans and five Democrats. Other Democrats floated the idea of appointing just one member to the committee.
But a top Democratic aide told reporters early on Wednesday that Pelosi, who held several meetings with the Democratic leadership to discuss the committee, was leaning toward appointing five Democrats.
The Republican House members tapped by Boehner for the committee are Reps. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.). They join Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who was named chairman of the committee.
The committee will be charged with determining what happened during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks, whether the administration handle things correctly, and whether there was any political coverup by the Obama administration.
While it has been almost two years since the attacks, no one has been convicted of carrying them out.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, FBI Director was asked about the status of the Bureau’s probe into the killings of four Americans in Benghazi. He said that he could not say in open session how close the US was to making arrests in the case, but that he “knows the answer.”
-Sari Horwitz contributed to this report