House rejects Dem attempt to abolish Benghazi panel
© Greg Nash

The House rejected a Democratic effort to abolish the Select Committee on Benghazi in a party-line, 240-183 vote on Wednesday.

Democrats argued the panel should be disbanded following remarks by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate After police rip Trump for Jan. 6, McCarthy again blames Pelosi Capitol Police asked to arrest the maskless MORE (R-Calif.), who linked its work to Hillary Clinton's falling poll numbers in her bid for the presidency.

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They said his comments proved the real purpose of the panel wasn't to learn more about the 2012 attack but to hurt Clinton for political reasons. 

Republicans blocked the effort by voting to table a resolution offered by Rep. Louise SlaughterDorothy (Louise) Louise SlaughterDemocrats must go on the offensive against voter suppression House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Sotomayor, Angela Davis formally inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame MORE (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, to disband the committee. 

The convoluted motion nonetheless served as a way for Democrats to force Republicans on the record about the Benghazi committee since the fallout over McCarthy’s comments.

And one senior Democrat on the Benghazi committee hinted that they might follow through on threats to stop participating in the panel's proceedings.
 
"If the Committee continues its abusive investigation, Democrats will have to consider how long our continued participation makes sense. We have no interest in lending legitimacy to a committee devoid of any," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
 
McCarthy got into hot water with Democrats and members of his own party last week while appearing on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s television show. 

Hannity asked McCarthy to tout accomplishments by the House GOP. 

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" McCarthy replied. "But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee.

"What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen."

The remarks have been a huge political gift for Democrats, who have sought to go on offense over Benghazi ever since. Their hope is that the remarks shadow Republicans when Clinton testifies to the panel later this month. 

Slaughter’s resolution says that McCarthy’s comments have “called into question the integrity of the proceedings of the Select Committee and the House of Representatives as a whole.”

The resolution states that “the integrity of the proceedings of the House can be fully restored only by the dissolution of the Select Committee,” and calls for all unclassified interviews and depositions to be made public within 30 days once the panel is eliminated.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who chairs the Benghazi committee, said Wednesday that McCarthy “screwed up.” 

"Well, he is a friend, but my first reaction is, ‘Kevin, you’re wrong,’ " Gowdy said on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." "Kevin has apologized as profusely as a human being can apologize."

House Republicans will vote behind closed doors to nominate a new Speaker on Thursday, during which McCarthy is expected to secure a majority. But he will face a more challenging floor vote on Oct. 29 when the House formally elects a new Speaker.