Dems likely to join Benghazi probe

House Democrats are "leaning toward" participating in the Republicans' special investigation into the deadly Benghazi attacks of 2012.

Party leaders have been mulling a boycott of the special committee over concerns that Republicans intend to use the investigation to attack the White House ahead of November's elections.

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But a senior Democratic aide said Wednesday that, while the decision is not final, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "is now leaning toward appointing a full complement of Members to the Select Committee on Benghazi."

Pelosi met with Democratic leaders Wednesday morning, and a second meeting is "likely" later in the day, to update lawmakers on the negotiations between Pelosi's office and that of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the aide said.

Pelosi met briefly with Boehner to discuss the Benghazi panel on Tuesday afternoon, and staff was continuing the discussion Wednesday morning.

The two parties have been at odds over rules governing the select committee, with the Democrats calling for equal authority when it comes to subpoena power, accessing documents and deposing witnesses. Wednesday's ongoing talks appear to be focused on those issues.

"Talks between Pelosi and Boehner staff continue this morning on remaining items Democrats are asking for to ensure fairness, transparency and balance with respect to the committee's proceedings and operations," the Democratic aide said. "To reiterate, no decision has been made."

Many Democrats, notably Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.), have called for a boycott of the panel for fear that their participation will legitimize a process they've deemed a political witch hunt designed to embarrass President Obama and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A separate group of Democrats has urged party leaders to get on board, if only so they can access the documents and witnesses that emerge during the probe and defend the administration from what would otherwise be a one-sided investigation.

Earlier in the month, Boehner named the seven Republicans on the panel, which will be led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former federal prosecutor. Democrats would have five seats on the panel.

Boehner's office has not set a date for the first hearing of the select committee.

— This story was updated at 11:50 a.m.