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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms Five things to know about emerging US, Taliban peace deal MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday hit back at a White House aide who mocked Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: GOP lawmaker takes unannounced trip to Syria | Taliban leader pens New York Times op-ed on peace talks | Cheney blasts paper for publishing op-ed GOP lawmaker makes unannounced trip to northeastern Syria Meghan McCain after Gaetz says Trump should pardon Roger Stone: 'Oh come on' MORE's (R-Ariz.) brain cancer diagnosis in response to his opposition to the nomination of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat 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.