House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Watch live: McCarthy holds briefing with reporters MORE (R-Calif.) was wrong to link the House Select Committee on Benghazi to presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE's poll numbers, the panel's chairman said in a Wednesday interview.

“Well, he is a friend, but my first reaction is, ‘Kevin, you’re wrong,’” Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe. “Kevin has apologized as profusely as a human being can apologize.

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“What I tell folks back home is, ‘I don’t care how many times you put an ear piece in your ear and looked into a camera, you still screwed up, and Kevin screwed up,’” he added of the house majority leader.

Gowdy argued on Wednesday that his committee’s work is focused on addressing the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on a U.S. facility in Libya and not Clinton’s White House run.

“Kevin is not on the Benghazi Committee,” he said. "We’ve had three public hearings and I’ve never mentioned her name.

“If you look at what we’ve done, the 50-some-odd witnesses we’ve already interviewed, not a single one has been named Clinton,” Gowdy said. "The 50,000 documents that we have accessed, that no other committee has accessed, less than 5 percent has anything to do with her.”

McCarthy's comments gave an opening to Democrats, who have long seen the panel as a partisan effort to take down Clinton. They also annoyed Republicans, who feared the remarks undermined preparations for Clinton's testimony on Oct. 22. 

Gowdy said he plans on personally questioning Clinton.

“All members of our committee are going to question Secretary Clinton and we were working on it as late as 11:00 p.m. last night,” he said.

McCarthy’s comments have raised concerns about his bid to replace Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (R-Ohio) following his exit from Congress at month’s end.

Reps. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) and Daniel WebsterDaniel Alan WebsterLaura Loomer says she's tested positive for COVID-19 How Donald Rumsfeld helped save the presidency Gun deaths surge in Iowa ahead of loosened handgun restrictions MORE (R-Fla.) are now contesting McCarthy’s ascendancy to the speakership position.