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 ChamblissThe Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Republicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' 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 FeinsteinCalifornia lawmakers mark Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum 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 RubioCheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight Peace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela 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 CollinsDemocratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Susan Collins in statistical tie with Democratic challenger: poll 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 BurrPelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US prosecutors bring new charges against China's Huawei 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