"These have been among the worst weeks of my life"

“I would say in some ways these have been among the worst weeks of my life,” Gowdy said this weekend during a lengthy interview with POLITICO. “Attacks on your character, attacks on your motives, are 1,000-times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically — at least it is for me.”

Gowdy faces the biggest moment of his political career when he squares off with Clinton this Thursday. But as the chairman prepares for the showdown, he’s facing increasing pressure to salvage his panel’s reputation — and perhaps his own…

Gowdy believes the criticism has been demonstrably unfair — an attempt to “delegitimize” his panel and discredit his personal reputation ahead of Clinton’s high stakes testimony on Thursday.

“It’s not lost on me that the uptick in criticism is [happening] the two weeks before she’s coming,” he says. “I don’t think that that is a coincidence; it’s an attempt to marginalize and impugn the credibility of the panel that’s going to be asking her questions.”