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Graham on White House official mocking McCain: ‘Nobody is laughing in the Senate’

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Trump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday hit back at a White House aide who mocked Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainArizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Whoopi Goldberg wears 'my vice president' shirt day after inauguration Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated MORE's (R-Ariz.) brain cancer diagnosis in response to his opposition to the nomination of President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE's pick to lead the CIA.

"Ms. Sadler, may I remind you that John McCain has a lot of friends in the United States Senate, on both sides of the aisle," Graham, a close friend of McCain, told CNN. "Nobody is laughing in the Senate."

Graham's comments came after it was reported that the White House aide, special assistant Kelly Sadler, dismissed McCain's opposition to Gina Haspel's nomination, saying at a meeting that "he's dying anyway."

The Hill first reported the comments and the White House did not deny the account of Sadler's remarks.

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McCain announced his opposition to Haspel's nomination on Wednesday, citing her "refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality."

Haspel has come under fire from some lawmakers — mostly Democrats — who have voiced concern about her ties to brutal CIA detention and interrogation techniques used in the years following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Haspel vowed not to restart such a program if confirmed as CIA director. But some lawmakers also bridled, for example, at her failure to condemn waterboarding, and raised questions about whether she believes torture is wrong.

McCain himself was tortured during his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, during which he was forced into falsely confessing to crimes. He has remained a staunch opponent of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.