Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the former Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has told the committee that he will vote not to send the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to the full Senate for confirmation, citing two speeches that have surfaced in recent days about which Hagel had not informed the committee as requested. The speeches were reported in an article by Breitbart News on Monday:
One was an address at the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee’s annual conference in 2008, where Hagel spoke at a fundraiser for the group’s political action committee. The second was a speech at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in September 2008. Emerson said that IPT has not uncovered transcripts or videos of these speeches.
The two speeches fall within the committee’s five-year timeframe. Hagel told the committee on Jan. 31 that the four speeches he had reported, out of the “hundreds” that he had made, were the only ones for which any record existed. That statement turned out not to have been true.
Other Hagel speeches have also been discovered from recent years, including speeches both inside and outside the five-year timeframe, that affirm controversial views that Hagel continued to espouse until very recently on Iran, Israel, nuclear disarmament, Pentagon spending and other topics.
UPDATE: The committee voted along party lines, 14-11, to approve Hagel’s nomination. The full Senate will now vote on his confirmation on a date, probably later this week, to be set by Majority Leader Harry Reid. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who spoke against Hagel’s confirmation earlier, was not initially present to vote.