McCarthy faces more questions on Benghazi

McCarthy faces more questions on Benghazi
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions The Hill's 12:30 Report House rejects farm bill as conservatives revolt MORE (R-Calif.) faced another day of tough questions about his controversial characterization of the House Benghazi Committee as a political tool, saying he “could have been more clear.”

His explanation comes a day before House Republicans head behind closed doors to nominate one of their own to succeed outgoing Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP revolts multiply against retiring Ryan Can Jim Jordan become top House Republican? Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP MORE (R-Ohio). McCarthy, his top deputy, is the favorite.

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But some colleagues are unnerved by his comments last week on Fox News, where he seemed to suggest Republicans had launched the special panel charged with investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, simply to hurt Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump Jr. met with Gulf adviser who offered help to win election: report Voters Dems need aren't impressed by anti-waterboarding showboating After year of investigation, Trump can rightly claim some vindication MORE’s poll numbers.

“Let’s be very clear. Benghazi is not political. It was created for one purpose and one purpose only: to find the truth on behalf of the families of the four dead Americans. Period,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.

“I’ve been very clear about this. And don’t use politics to try to change this around.”

“The integrity of [Chairman] Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyTalk of unproven FBI 'plant' in Trump campaign circulates among Republicans House oversight GOP refuses to force DOJ official to answer census questions Senate panel breaks with House, says Russia sought to help Trump win in 2016 MORE, the integrity of the work that has been done, has never come into question and it never should be,” he said of the South Carolina Republican leading the probe.

Asked if he misspoke during a Fox News interview last week, McCarthy replied: “I could have more clear in my description.”

McCarthy’s remarks have been panned by some GOP colleagues. And The New York Times editorial board on Wednesday called on Republicans to disband the Benghazi panel.

Boehner, who plans to resign from Congress Oct. 30, rushed to McCarthy’s defense.

“There is not one American who, in the course of our lifetime, wouldn’t rather have the opportunity to say words over again. Not one. There is not one American who hasn’t had this experience,” Boehner said.

“The Benghazi committee is what happened before, during and after a terrorist attack in Libya, where four Americans died,” the Speaker continued. “The American people deserve the truth about what happened. Period.”