Democrats seize on McCarthy's Benghazi comments

Rep. McCarthy: 'I want to fight to win'
Rep. McCarthy: 'I want to fight to win'

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Story highlights

  • Democrats claim comments by the House Republican prove the Benghazi investigation committee is "a political campaign against Hillary Clinton"
  • Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the committee, said McCarthy's comments "laid bare the abusive purpose of this taxpayer funded committee"
  • McCarthy told CNN's Jake Tapper that Clinton's poll numbers have dropped because of their work on the committee.

Washington (CNN)Democrats are citing comments House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made Tuesday as proof that the House committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack is nothing more than "a political campaign against Hillary Clinton."

Speaking with Fox News, the California Republican described the effects of the Benghazi Select Committee -- a group meant to look into the deaths of four Americans in 2012.
"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," McCarthy said.
    Democrats were quick to highlight and attack the comments by McCarthy, who is the front-runner to become the next speaker of the House. Democrats said his remarks confirm what they have long alleged about the committee: that it's aimed at making Clinton's 2016 presidential run more difficult.
    "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," Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the committee's top Democrat, said Wednesday.
    He added: "Republicans have blatantly abused their authority in Congress by spending more than $4.5 million in taxpayer funds to pay for a political campaign against Hillary Clinton."
    CNN reached out to McCarthy's office for further comment but did not immediately receive a response.
    The House Benghazi Committee was formed in May 2014 and since has become one of the longest-running investigative committees in House history. Although it at first focused on the terrorist attack, the committee has somewhat changed its focus since discovering that Clinton exclusively used a private email server during her time at State.
    Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the committee, said McCarthy's comments "laid bare the abusive purpose of this taxpayer funded committee."
    Earlier on Tuesday, McCarthy told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" that Clinton's poll numbers have dropped because of their work on the committee.
    "They don't trust her because what they found out about the server and everything else," he said. "Would you ever have found that out had you not gathered the information from Benghazi Select Committee?"
    Clinton's favorability numbers have fallen in the last few months. A CNN poll released in August found Clinton's favorability underwater, with 44% of people viewing her favorably and 53% viewing her unfavorably.