Lindsey Graham threatened to block the confirmations of both Chuck Hagel and John Brennan yesterday on Face the Nation, after last week’s hearings on the Benghazi attack forced unanswered questions to the surface — and the White House provided no answers. Graham told Bob Schieffer that he would place a hold on both candidates and promised “no confirmation without information,” which would force Harry Reid to attempt a floor-vote override:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday threatened to hold President Obama’s nominees to head the CIA and Defense department unless the administration provides him with more answers on the response to the Benghazi Consulate attack.
“I don’t think we should allow [John] Brennan to go forward for the CIA directorship, [former Sen. Chuck] Hagel [R-Neb.] to be confirmed secretary of Defense until the White House gives us an accounting,” said Graham on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Did the White House ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks?”
Specifically, Graham wants an accounting of Barack Obama’a actions on the night in question:
Graham said a special response team had been deployed from Tripoli to Benghazi the night of the attack to provide assistance but was held up by Libyan officials at the airport. Graham said he wanted to know if Obama intervened and contacted Libyan authorities to allow the rescue team to head to the consulate.
“Did the president ever pick up the phone and call the Libyan government and say let those people out of the airport, they need to get to the annex to protect our people under siege?,” he asked.
“We know nothing about what the president did during the night of Sept. 11 during a night of national crisis,” said Graham.
Graham said that if Obama had called he believes American lives could have been saved. He added that if Obama had called and Libyan officials “blew him off,” that would hurt their ability to receive foreign aid in the future.
“I don’t know what the president did that evening, I don’t know if he called anyone,” Graham said. “This was incredibly mismanaged. What we know now seems to be a very disengaged president.”
Graham insists that he’s not talking about a filibuster, but a hold. That acts much like a filibuster, but it takes up a lot of floor time, and it can delay other business. Graham’s hold could be defeated, but given the reason for it — a lack of cooperation from the White House rather than the flaws of the nominees themselves — Graham might be able to keep enough Republicans in his corner to make it stick.