House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyPence extends olive branch to Cummings after Trump's Baltimore attacks Marijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis McCarthy: Trump traveling to Baltimore shows he cares about the city MORE (R-Calif.) was wrong to link the House Select Committee on Benghazi to presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 is not a family affair, for a change New York Democrat pens op-ed on why he opposes impeaching Trump Rob Zombie on canceling 'The Hunt': 'A bulls–-- sacrificial lamb that solves nothing in society' 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 GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump MORE (R-S.C.) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe. “Kevin has apologized as profusely as a human being can apologize.


“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 BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE (R-Ohio) following his exit from Congress at month’s end.

Reps. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke GOP senators decline to criticize Acosta after new Epstein charges MORE (R-Utah) and Daniel WebsterDaniel Alan WebsterCongress can't even study gun violence unless it changes the law Judd Gregg: Pelosi's olive branch...sort of Lawmakers propose banning shark fin trade MORE (R-Fla.) are now contesting McCarthy’s ascendancy to the speakership position.