Will Democrats boycott Benghazi probe?

Greg Nash

House Democrats remain undecided about whether they'll participate in the Republicans' special investigation into the deadly terrorist attack on Americans in Benghazi.

"We're still discussing whether we're going to have a fair process," Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, said Tuesday morning after leaving a closed-door meeting of the Caucus in the Capitol.

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Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), head of the Democratic Caucus, said party leaders would like to participate in the panel, but are not convinced the Republicans' probe is anything but a political ploy to rally the GOP base ahead of November's elections.

"Democrats have always been ready to participate, that's our obligation, [in] any oversight activity that's real, that's legitimate, that's sincere and is meant to give the American people more information," Becerra said. "But we have yet to see that this is real, legitimate or sincere, and nothing more than a campaign fundraising tool for our Republican colleagues.

"We'd like to be proven wrong, but so far we haven't," Becerra added. "So we will see."

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) named the seven Republican members to the panel earlier in the month, but Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have not said if they'll follow suit and fill the five Democratic seats.

Some Democrats have called for a boycott of the Benghazi panel, arguing that participating would validate a probe they consider a political witch hunt. But another camp argues that a boycott would lend too much power to the Republicans to conduct a one-sided investigation without dissenting voices to defend President Obama and the State Department.

Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, downplayed any rift among the Democrats, saying everyone is on the same page when it comes to insisting that the process is fair.

"Division is the wrong word," Crowley said. "The Caucus is not divided."