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McCarthy faces more questions on Benghazi

McCarthy faces more questions on Benghazi
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal Chuck Todd reluctant to 'ban' election deniers from 'Meet the Press' GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (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 Andrew BoehnerAre maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East Joe Crowley to register as lobbyist for recording artists MORE (R-Ohio). McCarthy, his top deputy, is the favorite.

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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 Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: The center strikes back Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine 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 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, 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.”