Hillary Clinton was politically targeted with the Benghazi hearings, a second Republican has admitted this week in a move that could give the former Secretary of State’s presidential campaign a big boost.
A GOP congressman has come forward this week to claim that the Republican House committee called to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, was really a front for a political assault against Clinton. The panel met over the course of 17 months, costing a total of $4.5 million and drawing widespread criticism from Democrats for appearing to seem politically motivated.
Richard Hanna, a congressman from Upstate New York, may have confirmed those beliefs. He said on a radio appearance this week that the intention was never to uncover the missteps that led to the attack, but rather to go after Clinton.
“This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton,” Hanna said.
— CNN (@CNN) October 15, 2015
Hanna’s admission comes after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted last month that dropping Clinton’s poll numbers was an aim of the Benghazi committee.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, what are her numbers today?” McCarthy told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “Her numbers are dropping, why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened.”
Hillary Clinton immediately seized on McCarthy’s comments, saying they prove that the Benghazi hearings were “always meant to be a partisan political exercise.”
McCarthy ended up walking back his comments, saying he did not mean to imply that the sole purpose of the Benghazi hearings was to politically attack Clinton.
But Hanna was more direct.
“Sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in D.C. is to tell the truth,” Hanna said.
Second Republican congressman admits Benghazi committee was ‘designed to go after’ Clinton http://t.co/LubsbHkxec pic.twitter.com/B7Lx3Dij2t
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) October 15, 2015
Hillary Clinton’s campaign immediately seized on Hanna’s comment, saying it proves that the committee has no credibility. In doing so, she also appears to be attempting to undercut what could be a major line of attack for a Republican presidential candidate should Clinton secure the Democratic nomination.
“House Republicans aren’t even shy anymore about admitting that the Benghazi Committee is a partisan farce,” campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement (via the Huffington Post). “After failing to produce any new information on the tragic 2012 attacks at Benghazi despite a 17-month investigation, John Boehner has reportedly urged the committee to shift its focus to Hillary Clinton’s emails in an ongoing effort to try to hurt her politically. Hillary Clinton will still attend next week’s hearing, but at this point, Trey Gowdy’s inquiry has zero credibility left.”
The admission comes at a great time for Hillary Clinton, who is trying to claw together momentum to stop the rise of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race. Sanders has been making up ground on Clinton quickly, helping lead to a 10-point drop in her poll numbers in just the last few days.
Clinton was seen by many as the winner of the debate, with many believing her strong performance will keep Vice President Joe Biden from entering the race.
But there still could be trouble looming. Though Bernie Sanders and the debate moderators largely avoided addressing Clinton’s email scandal, it is a point that will surely be raised as the race moves closer to the actual voting in January. Hanna’s admission that the Benghazi hearings were politically motivated could take at least one worry away from Hillary Clinton and her campaign.
[Picture by Alex Wong/Getty Images]