Tags: Hillary Clinton | jason chaffetz | speaker | house | kevin mccarthy

Rep. Chaffetz: I'm Running For Speaker, Not Against McCarthy

MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."

By    |   Tuesday, 06 October 2015 02:44 PM

Rep. Jason Chaffetz denied Tuesday that he's seeking the House speaker's seat in response to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's comments on the purpose of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, but instead, he wants the office because he thinks the chamber needs a "new start."

"He's a good man," Chaffetz told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on her noon news show. "He's done a lot. He's big reason why we are in the majority."

But at the same time, he said, the House needs to "bridge the internal divide we have had. We have had very spirited debates. I want to engage in internal process reform that I think could make the whole political spectrum more positive about the end result."

Also, Chaffetz said he wants to be more aggressive about communications with the White House.

"I think generally, House Republicans have been fairly pathetic in our ability to take the argument to the president, to the Senate and ultimately to the American people," he told Mitchell.

As for McCarthy's comments, Chaffetz considers that a "side issue and a mistake," and McCarthy has "admitted as much."

Many in the House have worked on the Benghazi issue for a long time, Chaffetz said, noting that he was the first to send Clinton a letter asking what happened with the attack.

"A lot of us have worked on the Benghazi issue for a long time," he said. "If not for the stonewalling by the State Department, the Department of Defense, as well as the White House, we could have gotten this investigation done a long time ago but they have stalled, they still have not provided all the documents to the United States Congress and what Trey Gowdy and the Select Committee are doing is the right way to get to the truth."

Chaffetz continued that he is glad to hear Clinton admitted the investigations that were done before the current committees' were nonpartisan, as that is a "more accurate representation."

"I'm pleased that Secretary Clinton is planning to come before the committee on Oct. 22," he told Mitchell. "She has a chance to tell her story and members on both sides of the aisle have a chance to ask her questions."

The Utah representative also spoke about the apparently deliberate leaking of the lawmaker's private job application to the Secret Service years ago in order to stymie his probe of the agency, telling Mitchell that he appreciates the backing of Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and others in his case.

"I have spoken to Sen. Cotton several times and I appreciate him taking this up," said Chaffetz. "I think he will be more objective about it than I can ... they were trying to discredit me with 45 agents looking at my personal record, a violation of federal law. I have questions for the Department of Justice. What are they doing to probe this? Why isn't there a special prosecutor diving into this?"

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz denied Tuesday that he's seeking the House speaker's seat in response to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's comments on the purpose of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, but instead, he wants the office because he thinks the chamber needs a "new start."
jason chaffetz, speaker, house, kevin mccarthy
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2015-44-06
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 02:44 PM
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