Republicans continue political fight over Benghazi

"I do not believe all that [information] has been provided," Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Overnight Cybersecurity: Senators eye path forward on election security bill | Facebook isn't winning over privacy advocates | New hacks target health care Paul backs Pompeo, clearing path for confirmation MORE (R-S.C) told reporters on Tuesday, saying lawmakers want access to the State Department survivors of last September's attack. 

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The South Carolina Republican is planning to draft a letter to Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryPrimary care is a home run for both sides of the aisle Mellman: Memories may be beautiful, yet… Lieberman: Senate should fulfill constitutional duty, confirm Mike Pompeo MORE, demanding access to the survivors. 

He is also requesting the FBI files of their accounts of last September's attack,"to see what they said" and how it was possibly used to draft up administration's now infamous initial talking points on the terrorist strike. 

House Republicans, led by Rep. Frank WolfFrank Rudolph WolfBolton could be the first national security chief to prioritize religious freedom House votes to mandate sexual harassment training for members and staff Trump, global religious freedom needs US ambassador to lead MORE (R-Va.), have also demanded for access to the Benghazi survivors and renewed calls for a congressional select committee to look into the attack and the subsequent response from the Pentagon and White House. 

Graham and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees GOP advances proposal to change Senate rules Julian Castro predicts Arizona will 'go blue' for Senate, presidential election MORE (R-Ariz.) had planned to block former White House counterterror chief John Brennan's nomination to lead CIA, over the administration's refusal to disclose how it initially deduced the attack was the result of a anti-American protest gone wrong. 

Only weeks later did the Obama administration acknowledge the strike was a planned, coordinated attack by Islamic extremist groups in the country.

"How could this narrative [of] there is no evidence of a terrorist attack, how did it ever get started. What [exactly] did the survivors tell us," Graham said Tuesday.

Prior to Brennan's confirmation, White House documents on the strike sent to the panel clearly indicated Brennan's role in drafting that initial protest scenario. 

Both lawmakers eventually backed off those plans and voted for the Brennan bid, but not before Graham said he would continue to press the issue with the administration.

That said, when members of the Senate intelligence panel on Tuesday asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper what lessons had the White House learned from Benghazi, Clapper responded coyly: "Don't do talking points on classified talking points."

Sen. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Overnight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term MORE (D-W.V.), the No. 2 Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, told The Hill Tuesday the fight over Benghazi was over and congressional Republicans were simply milking the issue for political gain. 

"Benghazi is over and done with," the West Virginia Democrat said. Rockefeller roundly dismissed GOP claims that there are still a number of outstanding questions over the Benghazi attack, saying "as far as they are concerned . . . this has always been for [Republicans] a political issue and that is the way they will continue to [pursue] it." 

Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Cybersecurity: DHS cyber nominee vows to make election security 'top priority' | CIA to allow lawmakers to review classified info on Haspel | Dems raise security concerns about Trump's phone use CIA will allow senators to review classified material on Haspel Trump’s CIA pick facing brutal confirmation fight MORE (D-N.M.) pressed Clapper, who testified alongside Brennan and other top U.S. intelligence officials, on whether the Benghazi attack had been "unduly politicized," Clapper emphatically replied "absolutely not." 

Graham could not say whether the information he requested on Benghazi would lead to the creation of a new select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, which he and other GOP members have demanded since the attack. 

"I do not know where [this] leads, but I do know without that information, [Congress] cannot make an intelligent decision," Graham said. 

But even if the Obama administration provides the kind of access to the Benghazi survivors Republicans are asking for, the chances for a select committee remain "slim" at best, McCain said Tuesday. 

"We want it, but obviously chances of it are very slim, because [Senate] leadership . . . does not want it," McCain said. 

That said, McCain told reporters GOP-led efforts to gain further insight into the Benghazi attack and its aftermath has not been rendered moot by congressional Democrats and the Obama White House. 

"There are others [on Capitol Hill] that would love to see it moot, but I don't think so . . . all the questions are still unanswered."