House Democrats attack Benghazi panel for apparent outright attack on Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaigns. Democrats now want the panel completely disbanded for breach of House ethics rules. Republicans will hear none of it.
Nancy Pelosi, House of Representatives Democratic leader, said on Thursday that the committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks had violated the ethics rules of the Congress. This was after Kevin McCarthy, House of Majority leader, indicated on Tuesday evening that the probe’s main aim was to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.
McCarthy pointed out to Fox News on Tuesday that everyone thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee.” McCarthy said and concluded that Clinton’s numbers were dropping as a result.
These remarks resulted in angry Democrats calling for the disbandment of the investigating committee. McCarthy recently launched his campaign for the position of House speaker. John Boehner, the current speaker, retires on Oct. 30.
The remarks also raised concern among Republicans who thought that he should apologize for what he said, while others downplayed the situation, terming it a “media stumble”. McCarthy, not one to take any chances with heading the speaker’s election, later apologized for his remarks.
Republicans contend that the Benghazi panel was instituted to investigate the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya where four Americans were killed. However, following McCarthy’s comments, Democrats said that the real reason why the committee was formed was now clear.
“The question is, is this an ethics violation of the rules of the House?” Pelosi asked, pointing to the fact that the actions of the committee could be a violation of the congressional ethics laws. The laws ban the use of taxpayers’ money for political purposes. Pelosi further said, “I think he (McCarthy) clearly, gleefully claimed that this had a political purpose and a political success.”
McCarthy defended himself Thursday on Fox News, saying that he did not have any intention of implying that the committee was formed for political purposes. McCarthy also stated that he had talked to the panel’s chairman, Representative Trey Gowdy, and clarified that he did not have any such intention.
Boehner, a Republican, said that the panel would continue with its work as “this investigation has never been about former Secretary of State Clinton, and never will be.”
McCarthy’s remarks come in the wake of his campaign to succeed the current speaker. Although he is a top contender for the seat, his recent showing has cast him in negative light. When asked if this situation could affect his campaign, McCarthy told Fox News, “This is not what you are going to see as speaker of the House.”