Democrats are pouncing after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) bragged that his chamber’s Benghazi investigation helped bring down former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy asked.
“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 known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”
Democrats have long felt the Select Committee on Benghazi, which is aggressively investigating Clinton’s controversial email use at the State Department, is a vehicle to try and take down her presidential campaign. And Clinton surrogates widely declared that McCarthy’s comments vindicated those suspicions.
“This is a damning display of honesty by the possible next Speaker of the House,” Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon told MSNBC. “Kevin McCarthy just confessed that the committee set up to look into the deaths of four brave Americans at Benghazi is a taxpayer-funded sham. This confirms Americans’ worst suspicions about what goes on in Washington.”
Almost all of Clinton’s communications team highlighted McCarthy’s interview on Twitter. And a flood of statements have been sent to reporters trashing the Benghazi committee for deviating from its investigation into the 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that left the US ambassador there dead.
McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the attacks.
Some of the statements blasting him can be found below.
Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), ranking member of the Benghazi committee:
This stunning concession from Rep. McCarthy reveals the truth that Republicans never dared admit in public: the core Republican goal in establishing the Benghazi Committee was always to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and never to conduct an even-handed search for the facts. It is shameful that Republicans have used this tragedy and the deaths of our fellow Americans for political gain. Republicans have blatantly abused their authority in Congress by spending more than $US4.5 million in taxpayer funds to pay for a political campaign against Hillary Clinton
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), a member of the committee:
Last night, Rep. Kevin McCarthy bluntly acknowledged what many of us have said ever since the Select Committee on Benghazi was formed — that it’s true purpose had little to do with finding out anything new of that tragic night that claimed four American lives, and everything to do with attacking a likely Democratic nominee for President. In boasting of how the Select Committee had driven down the poll numbers of Secretary Hillary Clinton, McCarthy laid bare the abusive purpose of this taxpayer funded committee.
And indeed, after 16 months and 4.5 million dollars spent, the Select Committee has gained no new insights into the attacks in Benghazi; worse still, the committee’s leadership cannot even identify a legitimate objective for its continuing operation. Rep. McCarthy’s acknowledgment of the Select Committee’s true and illegitimate objective further underscores that it is time to shut the Committee down.
David Brock, founder of the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record:
Kevin McCarthy’s admission that the Benghazi Committee is a taxpayer funded political hit job to bring down Hillary Clinton should be the final straw for the media, for Members of Congress, for taxpayers and for the families of the four Americans who died in the Benghazi tragedy
I call on John Boehner, Trey Gowdy and House Republicans to end this investigation and issue an apology for this terrible exploitation of the deaths of four brave Americans. House Republicans led by Trey Gowdy have shamelessly, recklessly and erroneously leaked misinformation to the media and blatantly fundraised off the tragedy to benefit Republicans in 2016. It is time this investigation comes to an end and Republicans admit — like McCarthy did last night — that this entire thing was a political sham.
Next, the House Ethics Committee must open an investigation into for this abuse of power and misuse of taxpayer funds for political purposes.
Brad Woodhouse, president of Correct the Record:
The political hatchet job at taxpayer expense that is the current Benghazi investigation in the House has been officially exposed by who else – the future Speaker of the House. We have been saying for years that Republicans were exploiting the deaths of four Americans for political gain — Kevin McCarthy just admitted it. Disgraceful.
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