March 5th, 2014
09:41 PM ET
5 years ago

Sen. Lindsey Graham defends blaming Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Benghazi

(CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham defended blaming Russia's invasion of Ukraine on the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, explaining Wednesday that the Obama administration has set a precedent of weakness on the international stage by not following through on threatened consequences.

In an interview with CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, the South Carolina Republican pointed to Russia granting national intelligence leaker Edward Snowden asylum, as well as President Barack Obama's supposed "red line" on chemical weapon use in Syria, as examples of threats without subsequent action.

"It's just not about the Ukraine, about our standing in the world," Graham said. "When our President tells the Russians, 'don't give him asylum, there'll be consequences,' and nothing happens, that hurts us."

"When you tell the Egyptian military, you know, don't put Morsy and his crowd in jail, you challenge them to turn control back over to civilians and nothing happens, that hurts us," Graham added. "When you tell the world we're gonna find the people who killed our four Americans in Libya, including the ambassador, and you do nothing about it; whether you agree with his policy in Syria, Egypt, whether you agree with his policies, when he tells people there will be consequences, and there are none, it sets in motion exactly what you see."

Graham first linked the attack that killed four Americans in Libya to the developing crisis in Ukraine in a tweet on Tuesday.

On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Graham called the President "weak and indecisive" on matters of foreign policy. Graham said Obama should "do something" as the crisis in Ukraine escalates and Western powers scramble to respond to the situation.

Graham, who has been highly critical of Obama's administration on the foreign-policy front, defended his characterization of the President's standing on the world stage.

"The point I'm trying to make is that there's been too many times in the last six months where the President has told people, 'if you don't do what I say, there'll be consequences,' and nothing's happened," Graham told CNN.

A two-term senator who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Graham is facing a tough primary challenge back home. He said he'll continue his crusade on the Benghazi attacks even after November's midterm.

"Everything I've done has been about what I think is best for the country. I think it's best to find the truth about Benghazi, when my primary's over, and I'm gonna win, I'm gonna still be on Benghazi," he said.

The U.S. consulate in Libya was attacked on September 11, 2012, and was initially thought to be perpetrated by an angry mob responding to a video made in the United States that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. It was later determined to be a terrorist attack. A Senate report released last month determined the attack was "likely preventable" based on known security shortfalls and warnings that the security situation there was deteriorating.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Pete

    Hey Lindsey Graham what did your party do when all those embassies were attacked under Bush resulting in close to a hundred deaths,not including two useless wars murdering thousands of innocents in military,civilian lives in Iraq,Afghanistan,NOTHING..Not a peep from these hypocrites whether it be the republican reps or their constituents who post here..And if you've read lately DemRep.Cummings from Maryland wants a public apology from Issa to go to Hillary after his comments made even after an independent republican committe found Hillary innocent on all of Issas charges and found she worked beyond the scope in trying to help those men who actually weren't supposed to be in Benghazi either after repeatedly being warned ...Don't blame Hillary or Pres.Obama for the incompetence,arrogence of others of that of Stevens and four cohorts..You know facts they were warned as simple as that to go back to Tripoli to the fortified embassy there and did not resulting in losing their lives...Hey republicans before condemning others do us a favor and clean up your own messes you created most fixed by democrates if you read facts..

    March 5, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    What a crock of bull! Miss Lindsay, you should be ashamed of yourself!

    You repubs are disgusting in your efforts to undermine our President! If you had a record of achievement or policies that actually WORKED, maybe you'd have something better to do than to constantly slam this administration.

    March 5, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. Obama Approval Rating = 38% and falling fast

    Graham is 100% correct. Obama has proven over and over he is an empty bag of hot air and cliches. He simply doesn't under stand what an American presidents job is. It is not to get on TV every day and issue idle threats and draw red lines that mean nothing. He has lost all credibility at this point. Everybody knows he is a spineless wimp that refuses to back up his endless empty rhetoric with action.

    March 5, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    By Miss Lindsay's reasoning, 9/11 happened because GW Bush was weak. (Actually, it happened because Bush was arrogant and too busy to listen to Richard Clark, let alone read the August 6, 2001 memo about al Qaeda attacking the U.S. with planes.)

    I also recall after 9/11 that the gop accused of treason, anti-Americanism, and aiding the enemy, anyone who challenged anything GW did or said.

    The lengths to which the gop/tea bags will go to criticize our President are astounding – and further proof that they ALL need to be voted out on November 4, 2014.

    March 5, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. S. B. Stein

    You could argue it started with Beirut when Reagan didn't have the terrorists hunted down and didn't punish Lebanon for for providing a place to operate.

    March 5, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  6. wendel

    one more nut job heard from. Republicans refuse to stand united behind our country . they would rather divide this country and bash our president every chance they get. Maybe the rest of the world looks at them and thinks they are the reason for what ever problems we have.

    March 5, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    Hey,. Miss Lindsay, who paid the price when these incidents happened under GW Bush's watch?

    2002 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

    *crickets*

    March 5, 2014 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  8. Vence

    These guys really hate Obama, and now they want to destroy Hillary with smears.

    March 5, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  9. Chris-E...al

    Every time i think of 0bama and Putin at that meeting. The one with the open mic ? I think of that duo Milly Vanilly .sorry ill get it checkd on .

    March 5, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  10. ja

    What about the infinite mess in Iraq , & Afghanistan, what did we accomplish, who who started it?

    March 6, 2014 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  11. J.V.Hodgson

    FIrst off it was Bush's war on terror that has made politics difficult in the middle east Obama's red line in Syria was no more use of chemical weapons and that has not been crossed, half out of the country for destruction.
    Second we the people are tired of the Non options he proposes and that we don't want to go to war any more.
    Benghazi the FBI continue to investigate and the so called leader of the group who did the killing has himself been killed' OH he has to concentrate on his re-election and will pick up the Non event investigation of Benghazi again The have been on this for Over 2 years time to come up with a report designed to prevent a recurrence and better oversight if needed.
    He just likes to ignore the real geo politics of
    China developing as major economic power and military power, The aggressive development Of Islamist jihad caused by going to war in Iraq and AFGHANISTAN.
    Russia re-electing Putin whose re-election was specifically gained by a nationalist agenda.
    This latter has resulted in Russia following the ouster of Yanukovych, in protecting its rights of access under a 1994 agreement signed by the US and UK to certain facilities in Crimea and specifically the Port of Sevastopol.
    Criticism is easy actual/realistic policy ideas and solutions from him nonexistent'
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    March 6, 2014 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. Dan5404

    Every time Graham opens his mouth, he drives more voters to the Democrats.

    March 6, 2014 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  13. H

    Can you imagine this as an actual historical argument?lol I can hear my professor laughing right now...

    March 6, 2014 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  14. Doug

    Ah yes. The delusional senator Graham.

    March 6, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  15. Thomas

    Sen. Lindsey Graham is loonei toones !

    Staying in Afghanistan ten years and invading Iraq over WMD's that didn't exist not only made us weak but look stupid .

    Lindsey , McCain and Bush deserve thanks for that.

    March 6, 2014 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  16. What is this we're watching / hearing?

    I can't imagine any more insulting and less patriotic, near treasonous behavior I have ever seen out of a US Senator or any American for that matter. In my entire life I have never seen a U.S. President that has been so disrespected and by extension this country. Wait....John McCain wrote the first chapter – Right? The GOP , the entire party...words can't describe my distain for this group of malcontents.

    March 6, 2014 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  17. What is this we're watching / hearing?

    Does this person think he's the only one that is doing "what is best for this country"? Is he selling the idea that President Obama hasn't been doing his best for this country? Really? How do you respect these people? How do you not call these people names? i.e. idiots, morons, nincompoops, fools, brain dead, RWNJ's They constantly talk Bengazhi, IRS, Syria, redlines, Obamacare...with one goal, make themselves look like they're on to something and to overshadow their complete failure when they had all three branches of government and nearly dropped this country into the 2nd Great Depression.

    The GOP/Tea Party are the most.....words can't described the foolishness these people perpetuate.

    March 6, 2014 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  18. What is this we're watching / hearing?

    Does anyone in the last two generations remember when the Republicans represented "common sense, civility, statesman-ship. Just a group of angry juveniles. The GOP/Tea crowd are thoughtless and lack a common interest in what's best for this country..... but rather all they provide on a daily basis is petulant bloviating. The smell of this party is one of sewage and the only use for them is to spread over roses as we run short on menure

    March 6, 2014 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  19. roger

    Graham's in the pocket of our war and energy industries. What else is there to say ? And he'll do or say ANYTHING in order to win back the White House.

    March 6, 2014 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  20. Ali

    Fox Channel talking points. He's looking to land a position with the Fox channel after he losses his re-election. Have you noticed he couldn't say it with a straight face?

    March 6, 2014 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  21. Michael MN

    Wow just when you thought the tea party was nuts this guy comes out and tries to out do them

    March 6, 2014 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  22. Marie MD

    WHAT???
    I think ms Lindsey's not knowing which way "to go" has finally fried his brain.
    Is there anything else you want to blame Benghazi for? The cold weather we have been having in the East, the sun shining, the moon rising.
    I for one I am very happy that we are NOT at war with half the world. Sometimes talking then waiting to see what happens is the solution. We don't need to send our military to every corner of the world and I very much doubt that if you had to serve you would have the cojones to do so.

    March 6, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  23. Tampa Tim

    Lindsay continues to try to relate two completely unrelatable events. The weakness he alludes to, is in our dysfunctional government led by republicans. There are 294 embassies, with over 31000 employees, so I really doubt Putin used Benghazzi to invade the Ukraine. Under Bush, we had 9-11, 15 embassy attacks with 50 deaths, 2 unfunded wars with 4500 killed, and he did nothing during the Russian invasion of Georgia, yet Lindsay exhibiting the hypocrit he is, said nothing. Intellectual curiousity was not his strong suit.
    Lindsay might want to sit this out, and let the adults handle the situation.

    March 6, 2014 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Play to those war lovers you moron.

    March 6, 2014 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  25. Gurgyl

    --does this idiot even know as to where is Ukrine? Crimea? I doubt staunchly.

    March 6, 2014 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
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