Boehner: Benghazi panel will continue despite Dem criticism

Author: the associated press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner rejected Democrats’ calls to disband the House’s Benghazi investigation committee, denying that the panel’s work has been driven by a focus on Hillary Rodham Clinton and saying its work will continue.

The remarks by Boehner, R-Ohio, came as Congress’ top two Democrats said the committee should halt its work. But one of them, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., acknowledged that Republicans were unlikely to do that and said Democrats for now would continue their work on the panel.

Democratic criticism has been intense since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., suggested Tuesday that the panel can take credit for the diminished public standing of Clinton, a Democratic presidential hopeful and former secretary of state. McCarthy is expected to succeed Boehner as speaker this month.

The committee has been investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Clinton was secretary of state at the time and is scheduled to testify this month.

“This investigation has never been about former Secretary of State Clinton and never will be,” Boehner said in a written statement. He said Clinton and the Obama administration have obstructed the committee’s work and added, “The members of this committee have worked diligently and professionally to fulfill this important mission and they will continue to do so.”

McCarthy’s comments caused consternation for some Republicans.

“I think he should apologize to the families,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said Thursday of McCarthy, “because his statement jeopardizes the committee’s work and trivializes it.”

Pelosi told reporters that McCarthy’s comments show that the committee is “an unethical operation” because Republicans have used taxpayers’ money “for their own political purposes.”

She added, “It’s obvious it should be disbanded, based on the leader’s own words.” But she said that since Republicans won’t do that, “I would encourage my members to continue to participate,” but said Democrats would re-evaluate later based on “how serious they are.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday that it was “appalling” that Republicans have spent $4.5 million in taxpayer dollars on the committee’s work, which he said has been a “right-wing political hit job.” He said disbanding the committee would be “the right thing to do.”

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