Former Sen. Chuck Hagel has undergone a grilling today before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) confronted Hagel with reports that Iran has endorsed his nomination to run America’s defense. Hagel did not enjoy the exchange.
Sen. Lindsay Graham skewered Hagel on his past comments about the “Israel lobby,” and Hagel had no effective reply.
Sen. Ted Cruz also confronted Hagel with a past comment, in which Hagel agreed with the premise when a questioner characterized the United States as the “world’s bully.” Cruz played a clip from this interview with Hagel on Al Jazeera. Cruz also hinted that he would filibuster Hagel’s nomination until the nominee produces numerous documents that the committee has requested, but Hagel has not delivered.
The Free Beacon has more. Hagel’s performance was about as weak as I’ve ever seen from a major cabinet nominee. He often seemed confused when senators questioned him about his own past statements. He often seemed confused about the present reality of the world, as when he declared that Iran’s mullahcracy is an “elected, legitimate government” under questioning from Sen. Saxby Chambliss, and had to try walking that back. Sen. John McCain sharply questioned Hagel on his opposition to the Iraq surge, which won that war. Hagel simply refused to answer that question.
Hagel’s is a nomination that should be in deep trouble.
Update: The Right Scoop has posted video of Cruz interrogating Hagel.