Gowdy: GOP colleagues talking about Benghazi panel should 'shut up'

The chairman of the House committee that is investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack on Sunday defended the panel's inquiry ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Michael Moore ties Obama to Trump's win in Michigan in 2016 The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? MORE scheduled testimony on Thursday.

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"I get that there's a presidential campaign going on, but I have told my own Republican colleagues and friends shut up talking about things you don't know anything about," Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Gowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election MORE (R-S.C.) said during an interview on CBS’s "Face The Nation" in response to question about comments from Republicans linking the investigation to Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

"Unless you're on the committee, you have no idea what we've done, why we've done it and what new facts we've found," Gowdy continued. "We have found new facts...that have absolutely nothing to do with her. I get the people don't want to talk about that, but the seven members of my committee are much more focused on the four dead Americans than we are anyone's presidential aspirations." 

Clinton has sought to discredit the House Select Committee on Benghazi since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a television interview that it was responsible for a dip in her poll numbers.

Gowdy downplayed the political implications of Clinton's highly anticipated testimony, saying Republicans who have linked the investigation to the 2016 campaign in recent weeks "don't know any idea what they're talking about."

"She's an important witness, but she is one witness," he said. "By the time we're done, we will have interviewed 70 witnesses.

"When Speaker [John] Boehner [R-Ohio] called me, he never mentioned Secretary Clinton's name, not once," Gowdy continued. "My position has always been that four dead Americans are more important than the secretary of State."

The top-ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee, meanwhile, said he put more stock in the comments that Republicans like McCarthy and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) have made about the politicization of the investigation than Gowdy does.

“It's interesting that after 17 months, $4.7 million and counting of taxpayers money, Chairman Gowdy is now saying that he has another two dozens witnesses to interview," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said.

"What he is trying to do is he's now trying to shift back to where we should have been all along, and that is looking at the Benghazi incident," Cummings said of Gowdy's comments in the Sunday interview.

"He can try to dismiss the words of Congressman McCarthy and Congressman Hanna," Cummings continued. "He keeps saying don't listen to them, they don't know what they're talking about, but [Democrats] were on the committee too…We know what's been going on."