Graham to vote yes on Haspel, despite McCain’s call

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Lindsey Graham

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham announced Thursday he would vote “yes” for Gina Haspel to be CIA director, bucking the request of one of his closest friends in Congress, Sen. John McCain, who opposes Haspel’s nomination.

“She’s really an accomplished person,” Graham told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill after his statement announcing his support. “The point is Sen. McCain’s view of what works and what doesn’t, she accepts. She says that the interrogation program in the past did more harm than good and we’ll never go down that road again. I will not tolerate going down that road again.”

Graham said McCain was aware of his position.

“He knew where I was going to be,” he said.

McCain released a statement Wednesday evening asking senators to vote against Haspel because of her involvement in the George W. Bush administration’s interrogation program after 9/11. McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, cited her refusal in testimony to acknowledge “torture’s immorality.”

“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense,” the Arizona Republican said in the statement.

“However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination,” his statement continued.

McCain is currently in Arizona, where he is being treated for brain cancer and is not expected to be present for the vote on Haspel’s nomination, which has not yet been scheduled.

Graham also said he spent two days with McCain earlier this week and his health has been improving.

“Pleasantly surprised. Last time I saw him he had just come out of surgery really worried, eating really healthy, we watched ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and he was running commentary,” Graham said about McCain’s health. “Like the good ol’ days.”

He continued: “He’s stabilizing, don’t believe what you read in the paper, I was concerned when I went, I’m thinking now about my next trip, no talking about funerals.”