NewsNation | March 05, 2013
>>> following breaking news. will republicans follow through on a threat to hold up the brennan nomination to be the new cia director ? in the next 30 minutes they're expected to vote on the brennan nomination but senators john mccain and lindsay graham are vowing to, quote, stop the nomination in the full senate unless they receive more information from the white house on the attacks in mbenbenghazi.
>> john and i are hell bent on making sure the american people understand this debacle called benghazi .
>> i have had questions, written questions for mr. brennan for nearly three weeks now. we have not received a single answer. i think we deserve an answer and i have some questions about torture.
>> i'm not going to vote on a new cia director until i find out what the cia did in benghazi .
>> joining me now, democratic strategist chris kofonis and carrie brown . part of the laundry list that they say have been unanswered is they want to know why on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in american history , that is quote from their letter, after multiple attacks on the u.s. and western interests in libya and rising insecurity in countries across the middle east , u.s. military units and assets in the region were not ready to respond in a timely fashion. that's one on a long list from the senators here of questions they say they have not had answered and here we are again with a nomination that could be delayed even further.
>> yeah. it is not clear whether what the administration provided on benghazi is enough for these senators to stand down and say -- and pull back from what you showed graham saying he's hell bent on answers or else he won't move forward with a confirmation. it is unclear yet whether it's enough. certainly on the drone memos, it would seem to be enough to get the democrats who have said that they wanted to see those memos. we still haven't heard for sure but this is clearly an attempt by the administration to push along brennan 's confirmation.
>> chris , you know, it's interesting. carrie said is it enough? that question after the chuck hagel situation where it turns in to a loss for republicans, because after all the time spent that could have perhaps been focused on other issues, the nomination went through, when is it ever going to be enough with benghazi for these three senators?
>> i don't think it's ever going to be enough. the part i would say that's perplexing is so senator kerry when he was confirmed as secretary of state did not face these kind of questions.
>> when he was going to be secretary of state. they hit, you know, senator hagel very hard on benghazi and then they confirmed him and now it's -- you know, john brennan 's turn. now it's kind of a --
>> you cannot forget then secretary of state hillary clinton as well testified. there's been a laundry list of people and i think fairly put, there have been and are legitimate questions here but this ongoing threat of holding up nominations for individuals, people thought brennan would take heat on enhanced interrogation tech nears, ie torture according to some opposed to what happened in libya. something he had nothing to do with as well as chuck hagel .
>> yeah. listen. i think it's fine to advise and consent. that's the senate's role.
>> but for senator mccain and the others, it's become more about irritate and obstruct and some point it becomes a dangerous situation when you have a serious number of threats the country's facing, whether it's the growing threat of al qaeda in africa, you know, instability in the middle east , iran. and so, the question becomes when is enough enough? it doesn't seem to be anything for the administration to say to pacify them.
>> speaking of the administration , carrie , let's play what jay carney said on this issue just within the past hour.
>> we have been enormously cooperative with congress on the issue of benghazi . hours and hours of testimony including the secretary of state, tens of thousands of pages of documents, i believe. numerous hearings and working with members on their concerns as, you know, with regards to these nominations. but again, our nominees ought to be considered on qualifications.
>> carrie , if it's effective strategy to threaten to hold up brennan here, how do the republicans allow it to pay off? what i'm saying is, again, back to chuck hagel , after the wrangling and the drama, he ends up confirmed. does the brennan situation end in the same way?
>> i think that's the -- that's seeming to be what most people acknowledge on the hill, among republicans. that, you know, john brennan on the merits he seems to be, you know, on his way to confirmation. just a matter of when. and what republicans are able to get out of the administration before then. i mean, this is something that the hill often does. hold up nominations. put holds on judges and others trying to get the administration --
>> but we saw with hagel was extraordinary, unprecedented. while we see the delays not to this degree, radiosfigt.
>> well, no. you're exactly right. this is to a new level and something that democrats i think when the shoe's on the other foot, a republican president, this is setting a precedent to see democrats doing the same thing for a republican, to a republican president and his nominees and that's i think what folks are sort of warning about that the precedent has set is one that, you know, in the long term could be pretty damaging to the institution.
>> carrie , it is the same senators, mccain, graham and ayotte and senator cruz may also delve in this. i think a 39% approval rating in the state which is good for him at this point or decent for him.
>> i mean, exactly. this, again, this is something that, you know, members of congress do. again, like you said, doing it on a nominee is something more unusual but, you know, in the view of lindsay graham and john mccain , they have serious questions, struggled to get information out of the administration to the extent they want it. of course, like chris says, that goal post may be moved several times but in their view they're exercising their right as members of congress .
>> speaking of exercising rights, i want to read dianne feinstein 's latest statement on the drone program and the questions that she and others have regarding that. she said i've reached an agreement with the white house to provide the committee access to all justice department office of legal counsel opinions related to the targeted killings of americans in a way that allows members to fulfill their overnight responsibilities so at least senator feinstein, chris , says regarding the drone program and some of these documents she is satisfied at this point but questions linger on. if you're a betting man and looking back, i'm sure you're expecting brennan to get more questions on enhanced interrogations in the bush years and his role maybe than benghazi .
>> well, you know, listen. it's fine i think for senators to have questions that they want answered. especially when you're talking about a security position and been involved in an array of, you know, serious issues and challenges that have faced the country so i think that's fine. where it becomes problematic is senator mccain and senator graham which is a litany of unanswered questions and no matter the answers or information provided it doesn't matter. there's not enough.
>> and no matter who answers the question.
>> this hasn't stopped at one person's door.
>> right. and i think the question then becomes, what is the real end game here? i don't think this is about holding up brennan . the end of the day he will be confirmed, a week or two weeks or whatever it might be. this really is i think a shot across the bow in terms of president and how he conducts the foreign policy . i think that's the troubling part about it. i think senator mccain hasn't come to terms with the fact he's not the president and the president as commander and chief has the role and responsibility and power to decide what the foreign policy is for the country. and senator mccain clearly has a different vision of this so this is the game they're playing. this is trying to box, you know, the president in. i just don't think it's a smart strategy and something to win over a lot of support amongst people.
>> thank you. great pleasure having you both on.