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Exclusive — AZ’s Kelli Ward: If Flake or Graham Votes for Loretta Lynch, John McCain Owns It Personally

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won’t be able to just skate by if he merely votes against U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch as President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General, Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward told Breitbart News.

Ward said that if McCain’s allies, particularly Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) or Jeff Flake (R-AZ), move forward with their plans to vote for Lynch’s nomination, McCain will be personally responsible for their actions, since McCain is extraordinarily close with Flake and has endorsed Graham’s fledgling potential 2016 presidential campaign.

“I think it’s kind of funny—as we know, it only takes four of us [Republicans] to get her confirmed,” Ward said in an interview. “You would think as the senior senator he might have some influence over the guy he’s supporting for president and his colleague in the Senate from the state of Arizona. I hope he does, because I would like to see this nomination stopped—I would have liked to see it stopped in the committee process.”

It wasn’t stopped in committee because McCain’s ally Graham and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)—another who has stated he’ll back Lynch on the floor, along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)—voted for her there. Together, Graham, Flake, Hatch and Collins—along with all the Democrats—could be enough to get to 50 votes, and Vice President Joe Biden could come in and cast the tiebreaker, confirming Lynch as the next Attorney General. No other Republican has said they’ll back her at this time, and it’s increasingly unlikely any more will. While at this time the four Republicans who say they will vote for her haven’t shown any signs of budging, with McCain’s public opposition to Lynch, the pressure is heating up on Graham and Flake especially to reconsider their previous positions and oppose her nomination.

When asked if McCain would be personally responsible for Graham’s and Flake’s votes for Lynch, if they do vote for her, due to McCain’s demonstrable influence over those members, Ward said that “I would have to agree with that.”

“If Sen. McCain votes to allow it to go to the floor for a vote, it’s basically the same as allowing her nomination to go through, because we don’t have a filibuster-proof majority,” Ward said. “They can get around that for a little bit by allowing that to come to a vote but then voting no when it comes up for a vote.”

McCain would be responsible for the actions Lynch takes as Attorney General—including the upholding of Obama’s executive amnesty—if he isn’t willing or able to flip Flake’s or Graham’s planned votes for Lynch. Ward said:

I think he [McCain] will have had a hand in it [whatever Lynch does if she does get confirmed with a Flake or Graham vote]. You see him on the Sunday shows defending the president, defending the president’s views and telling us that we just need to move on, move on, move away from executive amnesty, move on from immigration. Well, the people of Arizona don’t want to move on from immigration. They want us to uphold our immigration laws. They want us to secure our border. It’s bad when our senior senator thinks we should just move on to some other issue but it’s important to Arizonans and important to Americans.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers wouldn’t answer any questions about the senator’s thoughts about Graham’s or Flake’s planned votes for Lynch. He wouldn’t answer whether McCain plans to withdraw his planned endorsement of Graham’s potential presidential campaign or if he would continue to work closely with either member if they vote for Lynch—or if there are planned consequences or repercussions from McCain against those two if they do end up voting for Lynch.

“Senator McCain has said for weeks that he will vote against Loretta Lynch because of her stated approval of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which Senator McCain believes are clearly unconstitutional,” Rogers said in an email on Friday when asked to respond to Ward’s latest interview with Breitbart News about McCain’s responsibility for the votes of Graham and Flake.

Rogers also noted that McCain has been vocal about his opposition to Lynch.

“In an interview on 550 KFYI Phoenix this morning, Senator McCain said that voting for Lynch would be ‘a very serious mistake,’” Rogers said.

Graham’s office refused to comment further than providing yet again his statement in committee that he plans to vote for Lynch, and Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop wouldn’t answer questions about why Graham would vote for Lynch when it could endanger McCain’s political future. Flake’s office didn’t even respond to any questions.

Ward said the reason that all Republicans should oppose Lynch is primarily because of Lynch’s support for Obama’s executive amnesty. Ward said:

She testified that she would support that executive amnesty and I don’t think that would uphold our Constitution or our rule of law. The attorney general should not be operating from a political point of view, she shouldn’t be operating from a political perspective or a philosophical perspective. Basically, she should be operating from the perspective of someone who upholds the law and this executive amnesty does not exist in the Constitution and it’s really offensive to a majority of Arizonans and the majority of Americans.

Ward wonders, too, if McCain’s newfound public opposition to Lynch is similar to his build “the danged fence” ad from his 2010 primary, where he spent more than $20 million winning back the GOP nomination against challenger former Rep. J.D. Hayworth. McCain made the infamous ad to make himself appear to be a conservative when the chips were down, and he may have been about to lose. It worked last time, but it may not work again in 2016. Ward said:

We see some conservatism coming from him about six months every six years. It is something that people need to think about because you want somebody who is conservative all the time, not just during election time. Did it take this long for him to decide? That kind of seems strange why it would take him this long. I think he is feeling some pressure not just from me but from other people who are considering running and throwing their hats in the ring. It seems to me that that’s how this is coming about. Some of his advisers are out there people out there who are seriously considering a run and he wants to have that ‘build the danged fence’ moment so people will start to believe his conservatism is back.

Ward ended the interview on Friday by noting that “things are moving right along” in her decision-making process as to whether she’s going to launch a bid to oust McCain in a 2016 primary.

“We’re still getting lots and lots of support from all over the place, from inside Arizona and out,” Ward said. “I think support is actually growing since the last time [we talked].”

She also laughed at McCain ally Sean Noble—the former chief of staff to former Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), who now runs political consulting firm DC London—who said in a previous interview with Breitbart News while touting McCain that Ward was not ready for primetime. Specifically, Noble said that Ward is “not a viable candidate.”

“She won’t be able to raise the money, and you just can’t go from being a rural state senator and go up against a very popular United States Senator who chairs the Armed Services Committee and leading the charge against the administration on national security issues on a daily basis,” Noble said. “This is going from little league to the big leagues without any stop at triple A on the way or even single A or high school ball on the way.”

Ward said she welcomes the fight that lay on the road ahead should she decide to run.

“I was interested in your last article [where a McCain ally said] I’m in the little league,” she said. “The thing that came to mind to me is I hope to be the Lebron James of politics. He went straight from high school to superstardom. I think that attack and attempt to belittle my viability as a candidate shows that there might be some fear on the other side.”


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