November 15th, 2012
03:32 PM ET
8 years ago

McCain skips Benghazi briefing, gets testy when questioned by CNN

(CNN) - Most of the Republican members of a Senate committee investigating the terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, skipped a classified briefing by administration officials on the incident Wednesday, CNN has learned.

The missing lawmakers included Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who at the time of the top-secret briefing held a press conference in the Capitol to call for the creation of a Watergate-type special Congressional committee to investigate how and why the attack took place.

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McCain, who has accused President Barack Obama of not telling the truth about the Benghazi attack, said that even though there are several committees involved in the probe, only a select committee could streamline the information flow and resolve the "many unanswered questions" about the tragedy.

When CNN approached McCain in a Capitol hallway Thursday morning, the senator refused to comment about why he missed the briefing, which was conducted by top diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials. Instead, McCain got testy when pressed to say why he wasn't there.

"I have no comment about my schedule and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media," McCain said.

Asked why he wouldn't comment, McCain grew agitated: "Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, "I'm upset that you keep badgering me."

While McCain refused to shed light on why he didn't show, his spokesman Brian Rogers emailed CNN a short time later with an explanation. He blamed it on a "scheduling error" but wouldn't provide any more detail.

According to a Democratic aide on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, only three of the eight GOP members of the committee attended the two hour briefing that ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. By contrast, seven of the nine Democratic members were there.

McCain's press conference took place at noon.

McCain did spend several hours in a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing on Benghazi Thursday, and plans to attend the panel's closed-door session on Friday with former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (584 Responses)
  1. RPP

    As a citizen of this Great Country (Govt. of the people....) I want to ask Mr. Mccain..the SAME question that the reporter asked him: 'Why didn't you attend the meeting on Benghazi ? ' I will go even further and want to ask: You did not go because your party lost the election? Also, you are playing partisan politics? nd sir, I hope as a citizen for whom YOU CLAIM TO REPRESENT, am I eligible to ASK YOU such questions?

    November 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. mmi16

    McCain is starting to believe in Mitt's 47% – to the tune that he doesn't want to communicate with the other 53% either.

    November 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. ser56

    Later, the senator was observed to be talking to an empty chair.

    November 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. LAinSA

    McCain still can't explain why he picked Palin. When you're that dumb, it's tough to come up with the correct answer in any given situation. Way to go Johnny. Crashed and burned again.

    November 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. joshua

    who was the person who came up with the lie about a stupid youtube video, obama or mccain?

    November 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Jmf

    Was CNN this upset about Obama not attending his briefings in the White House? It's one thing to read it in a briefing book, totally another thing to be in the room engaged in discussions. I guess CNN still carrying water for Obama. Is this what passes for journalism. No wonder Fox is wiping the floor with this supposed network.

    November 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Jessie P.

    I have never seen such negative, cry baby republicans in my life. No wonder we did not vote for them. This Repubican just cound not bring myself to vote for any republican this year. They are having a big meltdown and seem very unprofessional.

    November 15, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. Peter Clarke

    As a Viet Nam vet I have pretty much lost all respect for John McCain. He has turned into just another self serving political hack. In the midst of the Benghazi tragedy all he can do is attack the administration. He should find out what happened and he can't do that by skipping the briefing along with the rest of the GOP obstructionist Republican congressman. No true statesman there...!

    November 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. Nmjet

    Retirement is an option that the Senator might well best consider.

    November 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Ben Gleck

    Republicans no longer have the solutions to our problems. Republicans have become the problem.

    November 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. bogus

    he probably skipped it because he believes it's a bogus sham, meant to cover and protect Obama- and as a decent human being and someone whocares about america, doesnt want to be soil by the participant. that could be the reason.

    November 15, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Babyboomer

    Just a bitter, angry old man who's been looking for some way to get back at President Obama since 2008. He and Mitt Romney are the charter members of the "Angry That a AA Got Elected to the Presidency Club". He is doing nothing more than trying to conduct a witch hunt. Time to retire...

    November 15, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. AngieS

    "Who the hell are you to tell me...?" Well, I'm a tax payer who pays your salary and I want some answers on just where you were, Mr. McCain. What was more important than showing up for the job you are getting paid to do?

    November 15, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Michael, Chapel Hill

    I read the tolerance of Liberals, who will not leave anyone who question Obama. Interesting. Is it dictatorship?

    November 15, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Me

    Funny how McCain does not want to tell the truth as to he why & 3 other reoublicans did not attend ? "case they do not want to go after the truth which lies with the Intelligence Agencies. After all senator. Was not these agencies who briefed Susan Rice ? Of course they were. Poor "old baby senator" is being badgered by lame-stream media. LMAO @ this old fool. Time to go away. Afraid of a basic question senator ? Your public demands you answer! LMAO again.

    November 15, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Singh

    McCain ............ a shining example of a really really STUPID GOP senator who speaks first and then wonders why he SPOKE.

    November 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Tears of a clown

    Remember folks, these are Republicans, Right-wingers and Tea Baggers we’re talking about and with them it’s not a lie if they believe it.

    November 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. BLKMANinAmerica

    McSAME just needs to go away and stay in one of his many houses. So sick of this man already

    November 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. joshua

    who made the decision to remove our marines from Libya? what could be so important that it was better to let our embassy burn to the ground than send in air support?

    November 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Ed FL

    Mccain forgot one [IMPORTANT] word in his comments when asked about missing a meeting.Sorry is the word ,it can be construed a couple of ways ,one as an apology and another way is to describe what a JERK this guy has become. The people of Arizona deserve him and it's governor BREWER. This pair could be considered a shovel full of BULL --.

    November 15, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Romney is NOT My Hero

    Benghazi is the only talking point I've heard from GOPers in recent weeks. Now given the chance to actually hear about what happened, McInsane chooses to skip it. What is wrong with this guy? Oh, that's right THE TRUTH. It's repellent for the GOP.

    November 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. ShawnDH

    Birth certificate! BLS numbers are cooked! Benghazi!

    Blah biddy blah blah blah.

    America's right-wing has become a circus of conspiracy theories, stupid and crazy. It's sad.

    November 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Thomas

    And get off my lawn you meddling kids!

    November 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. BillyK22

    McCain has been complaining non-stop that the administration has not been providing adequate info on this subject, and then he skips a briefing being provided by the administration. Give me a break! A sheduling error??!! The fact is he knew about the briefing and in typical arrogant show-boat fashion, decided to call a press conference at the same time. The iciing on the cake is his belligerance to the press. They are voters too, Mr. McCain. Mr. McCain is an example of the old-school, archaic Republicans that are slowly being put out to pasture – as should Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and so on. Let's hope the Republicans can muster up some reasonable replacements........ soon.

    November 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Mike

    McCain was a hero but when he skips a classified briefing to host a press conference to complain about not getting information he is putting politics over country. Then when he insinuates that he is a senator and doesn't have to explain himself to the press he is disgracing the first amendments freedom of the press clause. John, you have done your part for country decades ago, I was happy to vote for you in the 2000 primary, please retire, you lost your way.

    November 15, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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