McCain to oppose Trump nominees over torture memos
© Getty

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers wait for Trump's next move on border deal MORE (R-Ariz.) says he'll oppose any Trump administration nominee who has backed torture.

"I cannot in good conscience vote for any nominee who in any way has supported the use of enhanced interrogation," McCain said in a statement on Wednesday.

His statement was first reported by Politico.

His comments came after McCain was the lone Republican senator to vote against the confirmation of Steven Engel, President Trump's pick to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. The office provides legal counsel to the president and executive agencies. 


McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner in the Vietnam War, cited Engel's connection to the Bush administration's torture memos.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Engel, a former deputy assistant attorney general, said he had "reviewed and commented" on a 2007 version of a controversial memo that advised the president and U.S. intelligence on the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" on detainees. 

McCain said he would oppose any nominee in the future who defended such practices.

"Mr. Engel reviewed and commented on this memo, which attempted to justify interrogation techniques that violate the Geneva Conventions and stain our national honor," he said in the statement.

McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, has also pushed back on Trump's calls in January to revisit the use of torture. 

“The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law," McCain said about changing the rules on interrogation techniques. "We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America." 

McCain previously condemned Trump's calls during the 2016 campaign to bring back waterboarding for terrorists.

This story was updated at 6:20 p.m.