Kevin McCarthy: Work of Benghazi Committee Is Not Political

‘That committee was solely to get the truth out, what happened within the truth, you find about a server’

BAIER: “House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is here tonight, to respond to the criticism. Mr. Leader, thanks for being here. That was Tuesday night with Sean Hannity. You’re going to clarify that?”

MCCARTHY: “Well this committee was set up for one sole purpose, to find the truth on behalf of the families for four dead Americans. I did not intend to imply in any way that that work is political. Of course it is not. Look at the way they have carried themselves out.”

BAIER: “But that’s not what you said.”

MCCARTHY: “No, the point – the point I was trying to make and I want to be very clear about this, I wasn't saying the committee was political -- that committee is solely to get the truth out, what happened within the truth, you found out about the server. This committee's sole purpose is to find the truth, why four Americans were killed that night. And that's the work they have done. That’s the hearings they have done. They’ve been – they’ve been applauded by all sides of the aisle. So, it's never my intention to say that.”

BAIER: “Obviously Democrats have jumped on this. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were out today. Here’s what they said about the Benghazi Committee and your comment.”

[clip starts]

PELOSI: “[Democratic Leadership and others in the Senate have written to the Speaker to say: disband] the Benghazi Committee. The Republicans should disband it. … This is not the only Select Committee.  This Select Committee is five million dollars, longer than the Watergate Committee.  [It] produced nothing. 

REID: “I don't know if he meant to speak the truth, but McCarthy did. It is a political witch hunt.”

[clip ends]

BAIER: “By your comments, have you made it harder for Trey Gowdy and his committee, especially as they get ready to interview Hillary Clinton?”

MCCARTHY: “I’ve talked to Tray and I’ve talked to the colleagues, I’ve expressed exactly what I’m telling you right now, Trey has told me, no. But it's never my intention; this committee has nothing to do with politics. Think for one moment. Look at the work they have done. Look at the work that Trey has done. No one questions Trey's integrity or this committee. It was never my intention to ever imply that this committee was political. Because we all know it is not. It has one sole purpose, let's find the truth wherever the truth takes us. And you know what, sometimes truth comes out, and other manners and let's not let politics hold that back.”

BAIER: “Did you apologize to Trey Gowdy?”

MCCARTHY: “I talked to Trey and I told him ‘I regret that this has ever taken place, it is never my intention’ and Trey goes, ‘I know it's not your intention because you know it's not political’.”

BAIER: “You’re in the process of trying to get enough votes to be speaker of the House.”

MCCARTHY: “Yes.”

BAIER: “You don't have 218 yet, do you?”

MCCARTHY: “We’re very close, yes.”

BAIER: “Did this hurt you?”

MCCARTHY: “Look, my colleagues know me, we've been part of this. I’ve talked to all of them. We’re going to be able to win this race.”

BAIER: “But you know that this fits into a concern. That if this happened and two days later you're now clearing it – cleaning it up, we are trying to clarify. Some of the lawmakers up there say is this what we're going to see as speaker of the House?”

MCCARTHY: “Look, this not what you're going do see as speaker of the House. This is simply the fact that this committee created for one sole purpose, that's the work the committee has done. Never my intension to imply anything and that's, I want to be very clear with my colleagues, very clear with this country of where we're going.”

BAIER: “How come it took you two days?”

MCCARTHY: “I put a statement out yesterday and I could have come out -- I should have come out right afterwards. Never my intention. It wasn't what I in my mind was saying out there. I was saying some truth came out from this committee, is where you found the server, where you went forward. You can always improve.”

BAIER: “And the truth is this has been a bit of a setback?”

MCCARTHY: “It’s been a setback, yes. Because I do not want to make that harm Benghazi Committee in any way, because it's not political.”

BAIER: “Mr. leader, thanks for the time.”

MCCARTHY: “Thanks for having me.”

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