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 BoehnerSudan sanctions spur intense lobbying OPINION | GOP's 7-year ObamaCare blood oath ends in failure A simple fix to encourage bipartisanship in the House MORE (R-Ohio). McCarthy, his top deputy, is the favorite.

ADVERTISEMENT
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 Rodham ClintonMaxine Waters is joking about 2020 — but not about Trump How Florida explains our polarized politics Dem senator: Pardoning targets of Russia probe would be 'crossing a fundamental line' 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 GowdyGOP lawmaker wants former Obama aide to testify Overnight Cybersecurity: FBI pick says Russia probe not a 'witch hunt' | Massive Verizon data leak | Agencies restricted from using Russian security software GOP Rep. Gowdy slams Trump team for 'amnesia' on Russia meetings 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.”