House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced today that five Democrats will serve on the Benghazi select committee created by Republicans to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission.
Hillary Clinton’s world was so worried about a Republican investigation of the Benghazi attacks, they sent a message to House Democrats: We need backup.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly considered boycotting the panel, an idea that Clinton supporters feared would leave the potential 2016 candidate exposed to the enemy fire of House Republicans.
So Clinton emissaries launched a back channel campaign, contacting several House Democratic lawmakers and aides to say they’d prefer Democrats participate, according to sources familiar with the conversations. Pelosi’s staff said they have not heard from Clinton’s camp.
On Wednesday, Pelosi appointed five Democrats to the committee, giving Democrats another crucial mission in the months ahead of what was already a tough election year: act as Clinton’s first line of defense.
“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,” a Democrat close to Clinton world said. “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.”
As Republicans continue their high-profile probe into the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Clinton is center stage. Over the next few months, Republicans on the committee will work to build a case against her, and they will attempt to haul her to Capitol Hill to testify.