Republicans: CIA nominee involved in Benghazi talking points

President Obama's pick to head the CIA was involved in crafting controversial talking points about last year's attack in Benghazi, Republicans said Tuesday after viewing intelligence documents.

Lawmakers had vowed to block John Brennan's nomination unless they got to see internal communications about how to describe the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Several said the email chain of several pages, which they'd been seeking for months, doesn't change how they plan to vote either way.

“Brennan was involved,” Senate Intelligence Committee Vice-Chairman Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissRepublicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' Ex-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances The Hill's Morning Report - Trump budget reignites border security fight MORE (R-Ga.) said after the briefing. “It's pretty obvious what happened.”

“At the end of the day it should have been pretty easy to determine who made the changes and what changes were made.”

He described an “extensive, bureaucratic and frankly unnecessary process” that led to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations publicly linking the attack to a peaceful protest gone awry. Republicans have accused the White House of twisting the talking points to avoid harming Obama's national security reputation ahead of the November elections.

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Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinYoung activists press for change in 2020 election The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back Democrats want White House hopefuls to cool it on Biden attacks MORE (D-Calif.), the panel's chairwoman, said Brennan's involvement was “small” and should play no part in his confirmation. The committee is scheduled to vote Thursday now that members have seen the documents.

Several lawmakers said they still had concerns.

“It did not alleviate my concerns,” said Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), who has said he'd vote against Brennan because of accusations that he leaked damaging national security information to the media.

“I wouldn't use the word alleviate,” said Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate GOP lawmaker on Iran: Congress should vote on 'what's worthy of spilling American blood and what isn't' The Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider? MORE (R-Fla.). “I think it raises other questions with regard to process. But we may have more to say about that in the next couple days.”

“I still have many concerns and believe there's still gaps in the information,” said Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMaine House speaker announces challenge to Collins Senate seat GOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks MORE (R-Maine). 

“The information today is unrelated to my personal decision on Brennan,” she said. She is expected to vote to confirm.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrGOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills MORE (R-N.C.) said he didn't think the administration misled anyone with its talking points but that many other questions about the events of last September remain.

“We've got a lot more documents and requests to be fulfilled,” he said. “It answers a lot, if not all, of the questions that the committee from an oversight standpoint. This only related to talking points and there's a tremendous amount more documents that deal with the days leading up to and the day preceding Benghazi.”

Jeremy Herb contributed