Lindsey Graham: Whoever Plays Politics With Benghazi Will Get Burned

Sunday, 04 May 2014 12:36 PM

By Greg Richter

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Democrats have accused Republicans of playing politics over the 2012 Benghazi attacks. Sen. Lindsey Graham says that isn't true, but anyone who does use the tragedy for political gain will get burned.

"So if we're playing politics with Benghazi, then we'll get burned," the South Carolina senator said Sunday on "Face the Nation."

"If our Democratic friends are shielding the administration and trying to protect them, and if the administration tried to protect themselves – the re-election – because they couldn't stand the truth about Benghazi, then they'll get burned," Graham said.

Republicans say President Barack Obama's White House blamed the attacks on a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video. Such protests were happening elsewhere in the Muslim world, but intelligence officials found no such connection in Benghazi, where four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.

Republican critics say the White House didn't want it to be known that terrorism was the cause because Obama was weeks away from a tight re-election and he was campaigning on the line that al-Qaida was "on the run."

New evidence came to light last week after Judicial Watch obtained an email from White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes advising then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to focus on the video in the five Sunday show appearances she made the Sunday following the attack.

The email had been withheld from congressional panels investigating the attack, but was obtained by Judicial Watch after a Freedom of Information Act request ruling by a federal judge.

"If it were up to the White House you would have never known about this email," Graham said. "Congress subpoenaed all documents related to Benghazi in August. So 20 months later they're hiding things. And when they say this email doesn't matter, these are the same people that tried to hide it."

Graham said the White House didn't have a "fog of war problem" in figuring out the cause behind Benghazi. "They created a political smokescreen."

Graham also has been critical of Obama's Ukraine policy, saying limited sanctions imposed against certain Russian oligarchs aren't enough to stop President Vladimir Putin's incursion into Ukraine.

Putin has successfully dismembered Ukraine, Graham said, and he now fears civil war in the country.

The Russian currency and stock market actually improved after the last round of sanctions, Graham said.

"It should've been called the Russian Economic Recovery Act," he told host Bob Schieffer.

Graham suggested tough sanctions on Russia's energy and banking sectors to "drive the Russian economy into the ground" and punish the Russian people who have backed Putin. He also wants to see the United States provide weapons to the Ukrainian military.

"President Obama is delusional about what's going on in Ukraine, and it affects our national security all over the world," Graham said.

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