Graham, McCain Back Tillerson at SecState

Meanwhile, McConnell says Cabinet picks will go through; Schumer is in no hurry
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 22, 2017 10:11 AM CST
Graham, McCain Back Tillerson at SecState
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, speak to the media at the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre in Krtsanisi, just outside Tbilisi, Georgia, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.   (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain will support Rex Tillerson as secretary of state in a move that all but clinches his nomination, reports Politico. Graham confirmed his position on CBS' Face the Nation and in a joint statement with McCain; Marco Rubio still hasn't decided, but McCain and Graham make that all but irrelevant. "Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for US interests," they said in a joint statement. McCain says the decision "wasn't an easy call" but he says Tillerson assuaged worries about Russia in private meetings. McCain says he also believes in giving incoming presidents "the benefit of the doubt" on their picks. Elsewhere on the Sunday dial, per the AP:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes the Senate will confirm all of Trump's Cabinet nominees. He urged Democrats to give expedient hearings for both Cabinet picks and Trump's choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Only Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly have been confirmed so far.
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate's top Democrat says his party won't be rushing into confirming Cabinet nominees. A vote is expected Monday on Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA, but for many other nominees, "there's going to be a thorough debate." He tells CNN that he's "dubious" about eight or nine of Trump's picks, citing potential conflicts of interests and policy stands. "Advise and consent does not mean ram it through."
  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says Trump and Press Secretary Sean Spicer were trying to keep the media "honest" when they levied charges of false reporting. Priebus claimed there "is an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president and we are not going to sit around and let it happen."
(More Sunday morning talk shows stories.)

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