Becerra: Democrats will participate if Benghazi panel 'fair, open and balanced'

A senior House Democrat said Sunday the party is ready to participate in the Benghazi select committee as long as the process is “fair, open and balanced.”

Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraStates threaten to sue Trump EPA for delay in enforcing landfill pollution rule Anti-abortion clinics take First Amendment case to Supreme Court Court: EPA broke law with smog rule delay MORE (D-Calif.), who as caucus chairman is the fourth-ranking House Democrat, would not commit to the party appointing members to the new House panel, but he said Democrats did not have specific demands like a requirement to sign off on the issuing of subpoenas.

“If it’s a fair, open and balanced process then absolutely,” Becerra said on “Fox News Sunday” when asked if Democrats would participate in the select committee. “But we don’t want to see reckless irresponsible handling of an affair that took the lives of four brave Americans.”

“We’ve always said that we’re ready to participate,” he added. “We have an oversight responsibility in Congress. What we don’t want to see is reckless and irresponsible use of taxpayer money to do these witch hunts.”

While Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner4 reasons Mike Pompeo will succeed at Foggy Bottom The misunderstood reason Congress can’t get its job done GOP sees McCarthy moving up — if GOP loses the House MORE (R-Ohio) has appointed all seven Republican members to the committee that the House voted to establish last week, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) left for the weekend without naming any Democrats to the panel. She told reporters the caucus is split on whether to participate, with some lawmakers urging a boycott on the grounds that the committee is politically motivated and unnecessary.

But on Sunday, Becerra said Democrats simply did not want to be “excluded” from key decisions.

“What we’re simply saying is 'make it a process where we can’t be excluded from the interviewing of witnesses, where we can’t be excluded when a decision is made to subpoena a witness,' ” he said. “'Make it so we’re all in the room when we’re reviewing the documents that are supposed to be evidence.' What we don’t want to be is excluded. We don’t want the American public to be shut out.”

Appearing on the same program, committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyDem senator introduces bill to publicize Trump officials' flying Gowdy: Trump's lawyers doing 'disservice' by framing Mueller probe around collusion House Oversight chairman requests details on Zinke's 9K door MORE (R-S.C.) sought to dispel Democratic concerns they would be shut out.

“I don’t run my committees the way that Democrats are fearful of,” he said. “I want everyone to say it was fair, it was exhaustive, and we knew more than we did when it started.”

Gowdy said Republicans would be “punished” if they overplay their hand in the probe of an attack that killed four Americans at the U.S. consulate on Sept. 11, 2012. And he repeated his call for the GOP to forbid fundraising pitches off the Benghazi select committee.

He said that while he wanted to ask former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans invest nearly 0,000 in red Arizona district Al Franken: Sessions firing McCabe ‘is hypocrisy at its worst’ Papadopoulos encouraged by Trump campaign staffer to make contact with Russians: report MORE why the U.S. remained in Benghazi despite warnings of deteriorating security, the committee was not out to get her.

“I have no friends to reward and no foes to punish,” Gowdy said.