Despite pressure, Dems to stay on Benghazi panel — for now

Despite pressure, Dems to stay on Benghazi panel — for now
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House Democrats have decided to stay put on the Select Committee on Benghazi, at least temporarily, despite mounting pressure for them to boycott its work.

The decision follows a marathon 11-hour hearing with Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Thursday, which Democrats uniformly bemoaned as a partisan attack.

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Still, after a roughly hour-long meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments MORE (Calif.) on Friday, the committee’s five Democrats repeated their demand that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) end the “abusive, wasteful, and obviously partisan effort.”

“If the Speaker rejects our request, Democrats will continue to participate at this point in order to make sure the facts are known and the conspiracy theories are debunked,” they said in a joint statement Friday.

The five Democrats on the committee are Reps. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Democrats question DHS over using facial recognition tech on US citizens House Democrats question DHS over using facial recognition tech on US citizens Democrats lash out at Trump's bombshell remarks MORE (Md.), Adam Smith (Wash.), Adam Schiff (Calif.), Linda Sanchez (Calif.) and Tammy Duckworth (Ill.).

Earlier in the day, Pelosi had insisted that she wanted to hear the committee members’ opinion about how to move forward.

“It’s a question of what endangerment of the truth that the committee wants to pursue,” Pelosi said during a news conference. “I trust their judgment. They will let me know what are the upside and downside of walking away.”

Democrats have repeatedly debated their role on the Benghazi committee since it was created last year.

Those conversations have only heated up in the last month since GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tied its existence to Clinton’s poll numbers.

Some have worried that Democrats’ presence on the panel grants it a level of legitimacy that they say it does not deserve.

Others, such as Cummings, have insisted that they have more to gain by maintaining a seat on the committee to keep an eye on Republicans and correct what they perceive to be mischaracterizations.

The tactic appeared to pay dividends over the course of the last week.

Democrats repeatedly hammered Republicans during Thursday’s hearing with Clinton, giving her a shield against GOP aggression and allowing the former secretary of State to maintain her calm. A day before, they released a 307-page transcript of a closed-door interview with a former top aide to Clinton, agaist Republicans' wishes.

On Friday, the five Democrats maintained that the GOP leaders of the committee should release “all of the interview transcripts” in order to let “the American people can see the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

Republicans have insisted that the committee’s investigation of the 2012 attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, is moving forward.

“We’re not done. We still have a lot of work to do,” Rep. Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyThe Go-Go's rock the stage at annual 'We Write the Songs' DC concert The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill MORE (R-Ala.), a member of the committee, told reporters off the House floor on Friday.

“We still have, I think the chairman said, a couple dozen folks to interview yet,” she added. “So we’re just going to keep looking for the truth and continue on our mission to find the facts."

- Updated at 2:31 p.m.