June 20th, 2010
09:23 AM ET
4 years ago

Success in Afghanistan operation must be defined, Lugar says

'We've never got to that point,' Sen. Lugar told CNN when asked how he'd know what success in Afghanistan looked like.
'We've never got to that point,' Sen. Lugar told CNN when asked how he'd know what success in Afghanistan looked like.

Washington (CNN) – The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says that, even after more than nine years of war, there is no clear definition of success in the U.S. military’s operation in Afghanistan.

“If you had to say on this day I will know that the U.S. has succeeded and we can begin bringing troops home, what would that day look like?,” CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley asked Lugar in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Well, your question implies that we've defined success and we've never got to that point,” Lugar replied. “That's a part of our problem, that we're going to have to, as a government, whether it be the president or the Congress, define success in a way in which the American people find this to be satisfying. Otherwise, we'll continue to argue about the date of withdrawal or how fast or how - whether we surge more or less - without ever having defined exactly what it is we hope from Afghanistan.”

Related: Failure isn't an option, Dem says

In the same interview, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee proposed the kind of definition that Lugar said was lacking. Asked about the Obama administration’s July 2011 benchmark for beginning to draw down U.S. troops, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said the situation has to allow the Afghanistan government and people to build their country.
FULL POST

June 20th, 2010
09:20 AM ET
4 years ago

'Failure is not an option,' Dem says of Afghanistan


Washington (CNN) – The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is painting a grim picture of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, insists that the effort must continue.

“Failure is not an option,” Feinstein said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Related: Success must be defined, Lugar says

Feinstein agreed that the training of the Afghan army continues to face significant challenges, but she said the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater is too strategically important to U.S interests not to continue the U.S. military operation.

“Also, there's one, I think, irreversible truth - the Taliban is on a march,” Feinstein also told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “If you lose Afghanistan, Pakistan is the next step.”

She added, “So the question becomes, either the Taliban becomes a force for good, participates in government - we're not there yet - or it has to be defeated.”

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who joined Feinstein during the interview, agreed that training Afghan security forces remains a challenge.
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May 10th, 2010
02:04 PM ET
4 years ago

Feinstein suggests full Senate could consider Kagan by Aug. 1

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination:

“The Constitution grants the Senate the solemn duty of providing advice and consent on nominations to the Supreme Court. I take this responsibility extremely seriously. Solicitor General Elena Kagan has a strong track record as one of the nation’s top legal scholars, and as a leader with a special skill for bringing people together. I look forward to learning more about her judicial philosophy through the Senate Judiciary Committee’s open hearing process, which I believe is an important opportunity for the public to hear directly from the nominee and shape their own views about her judicial expertise and temperament.

I am also very pleased that the President announced his nomination of Solicitor General Kagan in early May. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sotomayor were both confirmed in 72 days – that timeline would allow us to consider the nomination on the floor the third week of July. It’s pretty clear to me that this nomination needs to be considered by the Senate in a timely manner because we will need to move on to considering other critical matters like the ratification of the START Treaty, the annual appropriations bills, a new jobs package, food safety, and other pending legislative priorities.


Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Elena Kagan • Senate • Supreme Court
March 22nd, 2010
06:34 AM ET
3 years ago

Feinstein: Dem health care bill 'isn't the perfect bill'

Sens. Feinstein, a Democrat, and Hatch, a Republican, sat down with CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday to discuss the prospects for the health care reform legislation in the Senate.
Sens. Feinstein, a Democrat, and Hatch, a Republican, sat down with CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday to discuss the prospects for the health care reform legislation in the Senate.

Washington (CNN) – A prominent Democratic senator predicted Sunday that her party will succeed in passing a reconciliation bill that puts the finishing touches on President Obama’s plan for health care reform. But, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, also said the legislation isn’t “perfect” and that the reform package will likely be altered at a later date to work out any issues that may arise.

“I believe, at the end, more than 51 Democrats will hold firm and will pass the reconciliation bill and we will have health care reform,” Feinstein said on CNN’s State of the Union.

But Feinstein also said, “This isn’t the perfect bill. We all know that. We all know that there are going to have to be fixes down the road just as every major [federal] program has had – Medicare has had, Social Security will likely have because of the explosion of costs.” In defense of the controversial and unpopular Democratic package, Feinstein pointed out that the United States spends more on health care than its European counterparts without achieving better outcomes. “We spend a lot of money but we don’t necessarily spend it in the right way or in the right places.”

And Feinstein continued with a prediction if her party is not successful in passing the legislation after the past year of wrangling on Capitol Hill.
FULL POST

March 21st, 2010
05:01 PM ET
3 years ago

Feinstein: Dem health care bill 'isn't the perfect bill'

Sens. Feinstein, a Democrat, and Hatch, a Republican, sat down with CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday to discuss the prospects for the health care reform legislation in the Senate.
Sens. Feinstein, a Democrat, and Hatch, a Republican, sat down with CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday to discuss the prospects for the health care reform legislation in the Senate.

Washington (CNN) – A prominent Democratic senator predicted Sunday that her party will succeed in passing a reconciliation bill that puts the finishing touches on President Obama’s plan for health care reform. But, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, also said the legislation isn’t “perfect” and that the reform package will likely be altered at a later date to work out any issues that may arise.

“I believe, at the end, more than 51 Democrats will hold firm and will pass the reconciliation bill and we will have health care reform,” Feinstein said on CNN’s State of the Union.

But Feinstein also said, “This isn’t the perfect bill. We all know that. We all know that there are going to have to be fixes down the road just as every major [federal] program has had – Medicare has had, Social Security will likely have because of the explosion of costs.” In defense of the controversial and unpopular Democratic package, Feinstein pointed out that the United States spends more on health care than its European counterparts without achieving better outcomes. “We spend a lot of money but we don’t necessarily spend it in the right way or in the right places.”

And Feinstein continued with a prediction if her party is not successful in passing the legislation after the past year of wrangling on Capitol Hill.
FULL POST


Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Extra • Health care • Orrin Hatch • Senate • State of the Union
December 6th, 2009
11:31 AM ET
October 11th, 2009
11:59 AM ET
5 years ago

Feinstein urges Obama to decide soon on Afghan troop levels

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A leading Democrat on Capitol Hill urged President Barack Obama to heed the advice of his top commander in Afghanistan, who is calling for more troops.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that U.S. troops would be put in "jeopardy" if Obama does not listen to Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

"I don't know how you put somebody in who's as crackerjack as General McChrystal, who gives the president very solid recommendations, and not take those recommendations if you're not going to pull out," the California senator said on ABC's "This Week."

McChrystal is reportedly asking for up to 40,000 extra troops. Some reports say there is an option on the table to send 60,000 additional troops, almost doubling the U.S. force now in the country.

"If you don't want to take the recommendations, then you ... put your people in such jeopardy, just like the base in Nuristan," Feinstein said.
FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Dianne Feinstein
September 13th, 2009
02:16 PM ET
4 years ago

Dem senators: Afghanistan mission needs timeline, clarity


WASHINGTON (CNN) – Some eight years after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, two Democratic senators said Sunday that the Obama administration needs to provide Congress with a clear sense of the U.S. military mission in the war-torn country and a clear timeline for when the president expects to bring American troops home.

“My view is that the mission has to be very clear,” Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“I believe it is not now,” Feinstein also said, “I don’t believe we can build a democratic state in Afghanistan. I believe it will remain a tribal entity.”

The California Democrat also said the White House should have a clear sense of how much longer troops would be in the country.

“I believe the mission should be time-limited, that there should be no, ‘Well, we’ll let you know in a year-and-a-half depending on how we do.’ I think the Congress is entitled to know, after Iraq, exactly how long are we going to be in Afghanistan.”

The mission for U.S. troops entails, in Feinstein’s view, clearing the Taliban and al Qaeda out of the country and training Afghan military and police forces.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, largely agreed with Feinstein. In addition to waiting for the release of a report about likely increases in troop levels from the top U.S. military commander on the ground, Shaheen said Congress should also wait on information relating to the benchmarks it has “mandated” from the White House for determining success of the mission in Afghanistan.

Compared to the two Democrats, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins sounded a more pessimistic tone.
FULL POST

June 21st, 2009
01:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Feinstein: U.S. not meddling in Iran


WASHINGTON (CNN) – A top senator with responsibility for overseeing U.S. intelligence activities said Sunday that the United States is not interfering with Iran’s internal politics.

“To the best of my knowledge, there has been no interference with the election. There has been no manipulation of people following the election,” Feinstein, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“These questions have been asked as late as this past week of people in the clandestine operations who would know this – in a formal setting – and that’s the answers we were given,” the California Democrat added.

Asked about past American intelligence failures in Iraq, Feinstein expressed some misgivings about U.S. intelligence on Iran.

“I don’t think our intelligence – candidly - is that good. I think it’s a very difficult country in which to collect intelligence right now. I think our ability to get in there and change the course of human events is very low . . .”

After saying she thought President Obama was handling the situation appropriately, Feinstein also said it was important that the U.S. not be perceived as interfering in Iran’s political situation.
FULL POST


Filed under: Bob Casey • Dianne Feinstein • Iran • State of the Union
June 2nd, 2009
08:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor to Feinstein: Latina remark 'poor choice of words'

Sotomayor made the rounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Sotomayor made the rounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

(CNN) – Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor told Sen. Dianne Feinstein Tuesday her controversial Latina remarks were a "poor choice of words," the California Democrat said.

“She said, 'Obviously it was a poor choice of words if you read on and read the rest of my speech you wouldn’t be concerned with it but it was a poor choice of words,'" Feinstein told reporters.

Feinstein, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, added that she and Sotomayor "generally" discussed the issue of abortion, and that the judge believes strongly in legal precedent.

"I believe she has a real respect for precedent and ... if that is really true then I will agree with her and I believe it is," the senator said.

– CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report

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