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Republican: Going After Clinton Was 'Big Part' of Benghazi Probe

Hanna adds fuel to the Benghazi Committee fire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate, pro-abortion rights Republican from New York, is already something of an outlier in the House Republican Conference.  

He might have just gotten himself a little bit more estranged. On Wednesday evening, Hanna told a local radio station Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was telling the truth when he suggested during a Fox News interview the special committee on Benghazi should be credited with sinking 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton's poll numbers.  

"This may not be politically correct," Hanna said, "but I think there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after an individual, Hillary Clinton."  

Noting that "sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in D.C. is telling the truth," Hanna said, "After what Kevin McCarthy said, it’s difficult to accept at least a part of it was not. I think that’s the way Washington works. But you’d like to expect more from a committee that’s spent millions of dollars and tons of time.”  

Hanna's comments come after two weeks of attempted clean-up by House Republicans after McCarthy, then still a candidate for speaker, made the comment to Fox News host Sean Hannity. Some of the California Republican's colleagues ran to his defense; others said it was an embarrassment to the party and said McCarthy ought to apologize.  

McCarthy ultimately returned to Fox 48 hours later to walk back his remarks, but for Democrats, particularly Clinton's allies, the damage had already been done.  

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon took a victory lap Wednesday night after Hanna's comments started to circulate.  

"House Republicans aren't even shy anymore about admitting that the Benghazi Committee is a partisan farce," Fallon said.  

He said Clinton would still attend the hearing next week, where she is scheduled to testify before the Select Committee on Benghazi, "but at this point, [Chairman] Trey Gowdy's inquiry has zero credibility left."

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