By Erik Wasson - 02/17/13 02:41 PM EST
Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told "Fox News Sunday" that he has accepted a new denial from Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) regarding offensive statements the nominee for Defense secretary allegedly made about Israel.
Hagel was said to have told a Rutgers University audience in 2007 that the State Department was controlled by Israel.
“I will just take him at his word unless something new comes along,” Graham said. “If that is true that would end that matter.”
“I'm glad he answered my question about a very disturbing comment he allegedly made,” he added.
Graham joined fellow Republicans in filibustering Hagel's nomination on Thursday, the first time a Defense secretary has been filibustered in the Senate. Graham is continuing to seek more information from the Obama administration this week on the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Bengazi, Libya in which the U.S. ambassador was killed. The South Carolina senator warned last week that he would hold both Hagel and John Brennan, Obama's nominee for CIA director, until he receives more answers.
But Graham indicated in the Sunday interview that he will support ending debate on Hagel when the Senate returns from recess next week even though he considers him “one of the most radical and unqualified choices” to be Defense chief.
Graham said that despite his objections, President Obama deserves deference to choose his Cabinet.
“I give him great discretion,” he said.