November 3rd, 2013
11:14 AM ET
5 months ago

Graham says he ‘shouldn't have to’ hold up nominations

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham played the role of reluctant warrior Sunday, telling “Fox News Sunday's” Chris Wallace that he doesn't want to hold up every nomination in the Senate over what happened in Benghazi, Libya. But, he said, until the administration allows the Senate to hear testimony from survivors of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission there, he’ll block the White House at every turn.

"I shouldn't have to do this," the South Carolina lawmaker said. "I shouldn't have to make these kinds of threats."


Graham dismissed any suggestion that his wholesale obstruction of President Barack Obama's administration was "over the top."

"I don't think it's over the top for Congress to challenge the narrative of any administration when an ambassador is killed," Graham said.

The Senate Foreign Relations committee member insisted that a true accounting of the September 11, 2012, attack - which claimed the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens - cannot happen until all witnesses are made available "apart from the Obama administration."

"Congress really doesn't know anything about what happened in Benghazi from those who lived through it," Graham said.

He tried to strike at the logic of the administration's argument - that talking to witnesses during an ongoing investigation is out of bounds - by invoking the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. According to the senator, the White House's stance would have precluded Congress from talking to any survivors, first responders, or officials involved in the deadly attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, because the incident would have been classified as an ongoing investigation.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, multiple administration officials, including then-ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, said the melee stemmed from protests against an anti-Islam video.

"What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, prompted by the video," Rice said September 16, 2012, on NBC's "Meet the Press."

While Rice has since attributed those incorrect statements to lacking intelligence briefings, Graham said his questions would focus on getting the definitive answer to what happened on the ground that night.

"I want to know from their mouth ... 'Did you see a protest, did you ever report a protest? ... Did you make security requests?’" Graham said.

On CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, a close ally of Graham's, repeated some of his criticisms.

"To not get to the bottom of this isn't acceptable. We keep getting brushed off," Ayotte told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "The American people and the victims of this deserve to know the truth."
Ayotte, however, stopped short of offering support for Graham's strategy of holding up nominations.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    The teaklans act as if every day in Groundhog Day.
    Somebody needs to remind him that under his #43 village idiot there were countless of attacks on American embassies and, I believe, 50 deaths.
    Anyone interested in a hearing about that? I don't remember the democrats lashing out at the war criminal and his minions. Thousands dead and hundreds maimed for life!!!

    November 3, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Tony

    In other words, Sebelius won't lose her job over the Obamacare website, because no one will get Senate confirmation to replace her.

    November 3, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Anonymous

    "I don't think it's over the top for Congress to challenge the narrative of any administration when an Ambassador is
    killed"........
    ----
    And, Lindsay, I don't think it's over the top for Congress to challenge the narrative of any administration when
    over 4,000 military people are killed and thousands more maimed, their lives changed forever.
    The "narrative" of the Bush & Co lies should be challenged to this day – but I don't hear you calling for that.
    And don't give me any garbage about "that was then"......we are still paying for those wars, and will for
    years to come.

    November 3, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Hector Slagg

    No News is No News,
    Now why Pray Tell would this Administration appear before Congress and admit how in-competent it is. It is already all over the News. But to the Administration's credit, they are going to go down with the ship.

    November 3, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Thomas

    "To not get to the bottom of this isn't acceptable. We keep getting brushed off," Ayotte told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "The American people and the victims of this deserve to know the truth."
    Ayotte, however, stopped short of offering support for Graham's strategy of holding up nominations.

    ======

    Didn't Secretary of State Hillary Clinton already testify on Capitol Hill over Benghazi ?

    Who was President at the time of the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing ?

    President Ronald Reagan

    November 3, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Tony in Maine

    Lindsey Graham is acting like a pewtulant child because he can. remove the filibuster and Senatorial hold and the tantrums will stop. And fear that Republicans will pass bills and get Senate approval with 51 votes should not bother Democrats.

    The tyranny of the minority is what the real Tea Party – the one 250 years ago – was all about. Marching around with misspelled signs, foolish little pie plate hats and AR-15's is not real Tea Party.

    While I'm at it – The Gadsden Flag belongs to all of us – not just the rightwingnuts.

    November 3, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Warning to GOP
    We want to hear about economy only

    November 3, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Pander Bear

    For me the most stomach churning part of the GOTea obstructionism is their claims of victimhood. Their obsession with destroying Obama is second only to their obsession with destroying Clinton – and they'll get even worse once Hillary is elected.

    November 3, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    So what's new???? The GOP idiot party has been doing the same thing for obamas whole term, obstruct and block and say no at the exspence of the American people and where's is the 24 billion dallars you blew in 16 days???????

    November 3, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Dallas

    Where was your outrage when Bush and Cheney were having our men and women in uniform massacred in Iraq in a war that should have never happened? You're a hypocrite Senator.

    November 3, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Fair is fair

    So Obama and bush are really about the same.

    November 3, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. sonkarlay

    I don't blame these clowns because Reid trust republicans over their words ,change the damn rules and we will not see this in the news any more, if republicans was in the majority this damn rules was going to be changed from day one period, Reid change the damn rules and stop wasting our tax dollars for nonsense

    November 3, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    I can almost see the Cruz home in Cuba from Key West.

    November 3, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Once again the repubs play the victim card, blaming other for their own bad behavior. What a bunch of losers!

    November 3, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Where was Graham's outrage over the following (which resulted in only 3 hearings total): U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured
    2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured.
    2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed
    2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured
    2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one was in the building at the time.
    2008-U.S. Embassy – Serbia: 1 dead; Embassy set on fire
    2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

    Where was Graham's outrage when repubs voted to cut embassy security funding by $300 million?

    *crickets*

    November 3, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. S. B. Stein

    Really? Hold up the nominations for what? Is there something wrong with what they have done or their qualifications? If there is, then get some answer for it. If there is no problem with the qualifications of the nominee, then he should let it go to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

    November 3, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. GonzoinHouston

    He's sorry, but he is just forced to hold up all nominations, just like the Tea Party was just forced to shut down the government and nearly run the country into bankruptcy. They really didn't want to do all that, you know, but Obama just wouldn't repeal the most significant legislation of his administration when they asked nicely. And if you believe that I got a slightly-used Iraqi nuke to sell you cheap.

    November 3, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |