McCarthy faces more questions on Benghazi

McCarthy faces more questions on Benghazi
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (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 BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate 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 ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain 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 GowdyTrey GowdyGowdy: Sarah Sanders doesn't get say whether Comey broke the law Trump condemns Rice's unmasking: 'What she did was wrong' Sessions, Coats push for permanent renewal of controversial surveillance law 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.”