House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a Friday news conference that Benghazi family members have contacted Democratic leadership to oppose the special committee established by a House vote last week.
Pelosi is still weighing whether Democrats will occupy their five seat on the panel.
“Our caucus is clearly among those who say, don’t have anything to do with it. It’s a kangaroo court. It’s been identified as such. Don’t dignify what they’re doing, others who say just send one person so we can see what they’re doing to the witnesses and have access to that testimony. And the third option is let’s see what they come back with in terms of the terms of engagement,” she told reporters.
“What we’ve asked for is that there is as much bipartisanship as possible. They already rejected an evenly divided committee, as the Ethics Committee is. They’ve already rejected that. We would have liked to have had that.”
Pelosi said she wants “standards” guaranteed by which “a Democrat needs to concur in the issuance of subpoenas, decisions to depose witnesses, and the decision to interview witnesses, and with the decision to release any report, document or information by the committee or by the staff of the committee.”
“These are places where, in the regular order of the standing committee — Gov Reform, where we have been led so magnificently by Elijah Cummings — that these are places where we really did not get the proper respect of the minority,” she added in reference to the high-profile clashes between Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
She said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the other day and said, “I am very serious about this. I want this to be no circus, all that. And he said, so we should sit down and come to terms on that. Fine, I said, I can be there in a minute. He said, well, why doesn’t the staff go back and forth on this first, and then we’ll sit down. So when we sit down, we’ll see what that is and then make a decision as to how we proceed with that.”
“It’s very sad,” Pelosi added. “Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods — two of their families have called us and said, Please, don’t take us down this path again. It’s really hard for them. It’s very sad. So that’s what that is.”
ThinkProgress reported that Rep. Louise Slaughter’s (D-N.Y.) office was contacted by “a family member from the maternal side of Tyrone Woods’ family” in support of her opposition to the committee.
In a floor speech, Slaughter protested that Congress has “bottomed-out on Benghazi.”
Woods’ father, though, attended the State of the Union as the guest of conservative Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and told Sean Hannity that the formation of the select committee is “an answer to prayer.”
Pat Smith, mother of victim Sean Smith, told a House committee last year that the administration “all lied” about circumstances behind her son’s death.