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 FeinsteinOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks 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 RubioDems say attorney general undermined credibility with Trump talking point Pollster says there is no downside to Dems jumping into 2020 primary Senate confirms Trump's pick for ambassador to Saudi Arabia 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 CollinsOvernight Energy: Collins receives more donations from Texas oil, gas industry than from Maine residents | Interior chief left meetings off schedule | Omar controversy jeopardizes Ocasio-Cortez trip to coal mine Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Collins receives more donations from Texas fossil fuel industry than from Maine residents 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 BurrThe Hill's Morning Report — Assange indictment adds new legal, political drama at DOJ Senate Intel chair: Assange put 'millions of lives at risk' Kudlow says Trump administration opposes government intervention in 5G 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