Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Bradley Podliska, a former staffer with the House Select Benghazi Committee who helped with the investigation of that fateful 2012 attack, said he was fired from his Capitol Hill role because he refused to target Hillary Clinton, former secretary of State.

But his words were met with speedy rebuttal from one of Benghazi’s key investigators, Rep. Trey Gowdy.

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Podliska said during an interview on CNN with Jake Tapper: “I was fired for trying to conduct an objective nonpartisan, thorough investigation.”

He also called the ongoing investigation a witch hunt for political gain.

“This has become a partisan investigation,” he said, Mediaite reported. “I do not know the reason for the hyper-focus on Hillary Clinton.”

His statements were quickly condemned by Rep. Trey Gowdy, one of the key Capitol Hill investigators of the Benghazi attack that left four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, dead.

Gowdy took to national television just hours later and said Podliska never mentioned Clinton in the formal complaint he filed after being fired, and never gave any evidence to back his claim of committee partisanship. Rather, Podliska “specifically claimed his [Air Force] reserve status as a basis for his termination,” Gowdy said.

Gowdy also said in a statement to Mediaite: “Because I do not know him, and cannot recall ever speaking to him, I can say for certain he was never instructed by me to focus on Clinton, nor would he be a credible person to speak on my behalf. … In fact, when this staffer requested interns do a project that focused on Clinton and the National Security Council, he was informed by the committee’s deputy staff director his project was ‘not approved.'”

Gowdy also slammed CNN for running its report on Podliska without contacting any other member of the Benghazi committee for response.

“Had CNN contacted the committee regarding its interview with this staffer before it rushed to air his sensationalistic and fabulist claims,” he said, “it could have fully questioned him about his unsubstantiated claims. But that is the difference between journalism as practiced by CNN and the fact-centric investigation being conducted by this committee.”

Podliska, on CNN on Sunday, said the committee initially focused its investigation on facts, but in March, after Clinton’s private, home-based email server came to light, shifted its scrutiny to her actions during the attack.

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“I knew that we needed to get to the truth to the victims’ families,” he said. “And the victims’ families, they deserve the truth, whether or not Hillary Clinton was involved, whether or not other individuals were involved.”

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