McCain (ABC News)
Sen. John McCain continued his criticism of the White House's handling of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, calling for a select committee to investigate what he called the Obama administration's "cover-up."
"Now, what you’ve got to look at this in the context of the times there," McCain told Martha Raddatz in an interview that aired on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "We are in the midst of a presidential campaign. The narrative by the Obama campaign is that bin Laden is dead, that al Qaeda is on the run, not to worry about anything, and her comes this attack on Benghazi. And there are so many questions that are unanswered. We need a select committee."
"The president didn’t call it an act of terror," the Arizona Republican continued. "In fact, two weeks later, before the U.N., he was talking about hateful videos and spontaneous demonstrations. What he did say the day after was he condemned acts of terrorism, but then that night ... and throughout the next two weeks, he kept saying that it was caused by a spontaneous demonstration sparked by a hateful video. He kept saying that over and over again and condemning that."
McCain repeated his assertion that the administration is guilty of a "cover-up."
"I’d call it a cover-up," he said. "I would call it a cover-up to the extent that there was willful removal of information, which was obvious."
[Related: McCain claims ‘massive cover-up’ on Benghazi]
Last week, fellow Republican Sen. James Inhofe suggested President Obama could be impeached for his role in the case.
"Of all the great cover-ups in history—we’re talking about the Pentagon Papers, the Iran-Contra, Watergate and all the rest of them—this is going to go down as the most serious, most egregious cover-up in American history," Inhofe said.
In the interview that aired Sunday, McCain did not invoke the "i-word."
"With all due respect, I think this is a serious issue," he said. "I will even give the president the benefit of the doubt on some of these things. [But] we need a select committee."
McCain said he'd like to see former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—who testified before Congress on Benghazi before leaving her post—testify again. Emails, uncovered last week, suggested the White House's talking points on Benghazi underwent 12 revisions.
"She had to have been in the in the loop some way, but we don’t know for sure," McCain said. "What I do know is that her response before the Foreign Relations Committee—'Who cares?' Remember when she said, 'Well, who cares how this happened?' in a rather emotional way? A lot of people care, I say with respect to the secretary of state."
Clinton, though, is not McCain's only target.
"We need a select committee that interviews everybody," McCain said. "I don’t know what level of 'scandal' this rises to, but I know it rises to the level where it requires a full and complete ventilation of these facts. Now, here we are, nine months later, and we’re still uncovering information which frankly contradicts the original line that the administration took. And so, we need the select committee and I hope we’ll get it. And the American people deserve it."
- Politics & Government