- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2015

Democrats are trying to shut down the Benghazi investigative committee two weeks before the panel is scheduled to hear testimony, saying a top House Republican unwittingly exposed the political goals of the long-running probe.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who is the front-runner to be the next House speaker, said in an interview this week that the committee, formed to probe the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans, has been worth it because it exposed former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email practices.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that while the probe should be shut down, she’ll keep her members on the panel for now, and Mrs. Clinton will testify as scheduled Oct. 22.

But she also said Republicans may have violated the House ethics rules by establishing what she said has now become a “political” committee.

“I do believe this could be an ethical issue in the House,” she said.

Mr. McCarthy’s comments came in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? 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 that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

Republicans defended Mr. McCarthy, saying he was pointing out an outcome, not the reason for the probe.

Democrats, however, say the committee has now become the longest-running special investigative committee in House history yet has produced little evaluation of the 2012 attack.

What it has done is exposed Mrs. Clinton’s unique email arrangement.

The committee noticed a lack of messages from Mrs. Clinton herself in the documents the State Department turned over, and noticed a non-State.gov address associated with her. Under pressure, the State Department then went back and demanded Mrs. Clinton and a handful of top aides turn over the messages they wrongly took with them when they left the government.

Now a federal court has ordered the emails be made public on a rolling monthly basis.

Speaker John A. Boehner dismissed calls to disband the probe, saying it is about Benghazi, and the Clinton emails were a sideshow that Mrs. Clinton brought on herself.

“That’s why we said from the very beginning that Secretary Clinton’s server should be turned over to a neutral, independent third party, like the FBI. That’s why the select committee has interviewed dozens and dozens of people away from the TV cameras,” Mr. Boehner said.

“The American people deserve the truth about what happened in Benghazi. That’s always been our focus, and that’s going to remain our focus,” he said.

Mrs. Clinton will testify publicly later this month, and she has said she will answer questions about her emails as well as her handling of the 2012 attack.

In the meantime, his comment has landed Mr. McCarthy in hot water at a time when he is trying to rally support to succeed Mr. Boehner in a House GOP election to be held next week.

Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican and member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said that Mr. McCarthy was encountering criticism over the comments.

“He’s gotten criticism about that. I did not see it personally, but it is my belief that the purpose of these hearings is to find out what went wrong and to find out who did the wrong things,” said Mr. Fleming.

“If they broke the law, they should be prosecuted,” he said.

“I certainly wouldn’t want it to appear like we are just trying to score political points,” said Mr. Fleming. “My belief is that with this Benghazi situation, there were a lot of mistakes that need to be disclosed.”

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