WASHINGTON -- Top Senate Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday asking him to disband the Select Committee on Benghazi after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) praised the committee for doing political damage to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
In the letter, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democrats said that McCarthy, who is in line to replace Boehner after the speaker retires, had revealed that the panel's true purpose was political.
"We are writing to ask you to disband the House Select Committee on Benghazi after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s recent comments admitting that the Select Committee was put together to serve the political purpose of defeating Secretary Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential elections by hurting her in the polls, rather than conducting a serious investigation into a terrorist attack that killed four Americans," wrote Reid, who was joined by Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.).
"We should not disrespect their sacrifice by further politicizing this tragedy," they continued.
McCarthy said during an interview on Fox News' "Hannity" on Tuesday that the Benghazi committee was responsible for hurting Clinton's poll numbers.
"Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee -- what are her numbers today?" McCarthy said. "Her numbers are dropping -- why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened."
The senators also said in their letter that it was "unconscionable" that the committee had spent $4.5 million investigating the incident even after multiple investigations had cleared the Obama administration of wrongdoing.
Critics have long said that the committee is a taxpayer-funded tool to attack Clinton, but Boehner has said that it is nonpartisan.
Boehner defended the committee in a statement on Thursday and accused the Obama administration from preventing the panel from completing its investigation.
“This investigation has never been about former Secretary of State Clinton and never will be," he said. "Indeed, the Select Committee’s very existence is only the result of the Obama administration’
Clinton on Wednesday called McCarthy's comments "deeply distressing," and even some Republicans were bothered by them. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that the comments were "absolutely inappropriate" and said McCarthy should apologize.
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