March 5th, 2014
09:41 PM ET
9 months 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. Gurgyl

    -this pathetic idiot is just like Bush that got confused between India and Pakistan.

    March 6, 2014 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Graham has become irrelevant. He will be replaced with a true conservative, this year.

    March 6, 2014 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  3. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    He's nuttier than a squirrel turd.

    March 6, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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