McCarthy, widely expected to succeed outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), celebrated the Benghazi committee's negative effects on Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton's poll numbers last week. The remarks came under fire from both Democrats and Republicans, forcing McCarthy to walk back what Democrats characterized as a moment of candor about the committee's real purpose.
"Lawmakers have long abused their investigative authority for political purposes," the editorial board wrote. "But the effort to find Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time of the Libya attacks, was personally responsible for the deaths has lost any semblance of credibility. It’s become an insult to the memory of four slain Americans."
The editorial board also called on Democrats to quit the whole enterprise, which it dubbed "the Inquisition of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” should Republicans insist on soldiering on with the committee's work.
Notably, Clinton's presidential campaign accused the Times of doing damage to her prospects earlier this year. Staffers and surrogates for the Democratic presidential frontrunner assailed the newspaper after it erroneously reported in July that the Justice Department received a request to open a criminal probe into Clinton's exclusive use of a private email account at the State Department. The newspaper later issued multiple corrections to and an editor's note about its report.