House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today called a newly established select committee to investigate Benghazi a “political stunt” as she grapples with the decision of whether to appoint any Democrats to the exclusive panel.
“This is a political stunt,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters at the Capitol. “We’ve been there, done this, over and over again.”
Pelosi said she is weighing whether her caucus will boycott the committee, fully participate by filling the slots reserved for Democrats or contribute minimally by appointing a single Democrat to monitor the GOP’s activities on the committee.
She would not tip her hand today on which direction she is leaning.
“When I speak with the speaker, I’ll give you an answer as to what that will be,” Pelosi said. “I have confidence that we have extraordinary talent to go into the room to get the job done” if Democrats participate.
While Pelosi considers her options, House Speaker John Boehner briefly huddled in his office with his seven GOP appointees this afternoon “to get everybody in same room and let them begin conversations about how the group intends to proceed,” according to a senior Republican aide in the room.
Boehner chose Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., Martha Roby, R-Ala., Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., to join Rep. Trey Gowdy, who Boehner announced earlier this week would chair the investigation.
The House voted 232-186 Thursday evening to create the select committee. Pelosi missed the vote while she was in California campaigning with President Obama, although she denied speaking to him about the subject during the visit.
“I’ve had no conversations with the president about this,” she said. “None.”
While Pelosi and Boehner met to discuss the issue briefly Wednesday, several congressional aides say the talks have since remained at the staff level as Democrats seek assurances that the committee will be inclusive.
“The inference to be drawn from our conversation is that we would go to a different place with more clarity about what the rights might be or more specificity [of the committee's rules],” she said. “We have our history, we understand what we’re dealing with, but we really don’t know yet what the speaker is going to say, so let’s find that out.”
*Update: Pelosi’s office released a new letter addressed to Boehner that rejects a Memorandum of Understanding proposed by his staff, calling it “fundamentally unfair.”
“The American people deserve and expect us to work together in a fair, balanced and open manner,” Pelosi wrote. “For the sake of the families of the brave Americans who died in this tragedy, this process must not be politicized.”
The House returns to session May 19 after a week-long recess.