- The Washington Times
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sen. Lindsey Graham took to CNN Thursday morning to defend his controversial tweet that essentially blamed President Obama’s response in Benghazi for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s force in Ukraine.

“It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression. #Ukraine,” the South Carolina Republican tweeted Tuesday afternoon, adding, “Putin basically came to the conclusion after Benghazi, Syria, Egypt - everything Obama has been engaged in - he’s a weak indecisive leader.”

Mr. Graham joined CNN’s chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash to elaborate.

“It’s just not about the Ukraine, about our standing in the world,” he said. “When our president tells the Russians, ‘don’t give [Edward Snowden] asylum, there’ll be consequences,’ and nothing happens, that hurts us.

“When you tell the Egyptian military, you know, don’t put Morsi and his crowd in jail, you challenge them to turn control back over to civilians and nothing happens, that hurts us,” Mr. Graham continued. “When you tell the world we’re gonna find the people who killed our four Americans in Libya, including the ambassador, and you do nothing about it; whether you agree with his policy in Syria, Egypt, whether you agree with his policies, when he tells people there will be consequences, and there are none, it sets in motion exactly what you see.”

Mr. Graham, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is facing a tough primary challenge back home. Regardless, he said Benghazi is his top priority.

“Everything I’ve done has been about what I think is best for the country. I think it’s best to find the truth about Benghazi, when my primary’s over, and I’m gonna win, I’m gonna still be on Benghazi,” he told CNN.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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