POLITICS
05/11/2014 10:05 am ET | Updated May 12, 2014

Trey Gowdy Softens His Benghazi 'Trial' Remark

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) backtracked on Sunday from an earlier description of the select committee he is leading to investigate the 2012 attack in Benghazi as "a trial."

"No sir," Gowdy said, when "Fox News Sunday" asked if he sees himself as a prosecutor and the Obama administration as the defense. "For 16 years I spoke in trial metaphors, and perhaps I need to get out of that habit. What I simply meant is, when you ask me how long something is going to last, I need to know how cooperative the other side is going to be. So to the extent that I gave any indication to anyone that I view someone as the defense, what I meant by that is, if you can tell me how cooperative the other side is going to be, I can give you a better idea of how long something is going to last."

Gowdy got himself in trouble last week when he declared out of the gate that "if an administration is slow-walking document production, I can't end a trial simply because the defense won't cooperate."

In response, multiple commentators pointed out that the select committee's purpose is supposed to be investigative, not prosecutorial. And the remark played into the Democratic criticism that House Republicans have assumed guilt on the part of the White House.

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