January 12th, 2014
02:00 PM ET

Gates defends controversial book

By Ashley Killough

Bob Gates defended his new book Sunday, after some pundits blasted the former defense secretary for criticizing a sitting president and an administration in which he recently served.

In an interview with CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” Gates said the partisan culture of Washington was quick to focus on the negative statements in the book, but less interested in the positive marks he gave President Barack Obama.

But he stood by everything he wrote.

"The way people are looking at the book reflects the polarization of our political process at this point," he said. "A lot of people – not everybody – (are) going to look at this book in terms of how does it advance (their) particular political agenda, or how does it damage (their) political agenda.”

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Filed under: Gates
McCain: Send Petraeus back to Iraq
January 12th, 2014
10:58 AM ET

McCain: Send Petraeus back to Iraq

By Ashley Killough

President Barack Obama should send David Petraeus, a retired four-star general who ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, back to Iraq to help deal with the growing unrest in the country, Sen. John McCain said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Arizona Republican also weighed in on a new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying he would have waited a bit longer to release the book, which offers a blistering critique of the Obama administration.

On Iraq, McCain said the country is not a lost cause and argued the United States can still offer assistance to help quell the renewed violence that’s rocked the country in the last year.

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee said he opposed sending combat troops back to Iraq, but added the U.S. can provide other kinds of aid, such as logistics support and Apache helicopters.

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Filed under: Iraq • McCain • Petraeus
McCain: CIA did not tell Congress the truth about Levinson
December 15th, 2013
05:51 PM ET

McCain: CIA did not tell Congress the truth about Levinson

Sen. John McCain joined CNN's "State of the Union" from Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday after the Arizona Republican addressed thousands of protesters who are angry over the Ukrainian government's decision to backpedal away from an agreement with the European Union.

McCain spoke about a range of issues happening around the globe, and suggested the Central Intelligence Agency was not truthful to Congress about former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who went missing in Iran seven years ago.

Here are five noteworthy points from the interview.

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Filed under: CIA • McCain
November 24th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

Kerry: Israel is safer under new deal

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Sunday that the interim agreement to halt Iran’s nuclear program makes Israel safer – though Israel says the agreement has exactly the opposite effect.

“We believe very strongly that because the Iranian nuclear program is actually set backwards and is actually locked into place in critical places, that that is better for Israel than if you were just continuing to go down the road and they rush towards a nuclear weapon,” Kerry said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” – just hours after world powers and Iran reached the historic agreement.

Kerry cautioned that strong verification tactics will be needed in order to hold Iran accountable to the deal.

“When you're dealing with nuclear weapons, it's not an issue of trust,” Kerry said. “Verification is the key.”

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Filed under: Iran • Nuclear • Sec. State John Kerry
Rogers: Obama is losing support on Capitol Hill
September 8th, 2013
01:53 PM ET

Rogers: Obama is losing support on Capitol Hill

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wants to see Congress approve the president's pitch to take military action in Syria, but he said the administration has failed at wooing Capitol Hill.

"I think it's very clear he's lost support in the last week," the Michigan Republican said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

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Filed under: Rep. Mike Rogers • Syria
WH chief of staff: ‘This is not Iraq or Afghanistan’
September 8th, 2013
10:22 AM ET

WH chief of staff: ‘This is not Iraq or Afghanistan’

By CNN's Ashley Killough

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough argued Sunday that a military strike in Syria would not be a repeat of previous U.S. involvements in the Middle East or North Africa.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” McDonough said it’s “common sense” that the Syrian regime carried out the deadly chemical weapons attack last month that the U.S. government says left more than 1,400 dead in a Damascus suburb. He added the Obama administration feels “very good about the support” it has from other countries, though he wouldn’t say whether any of that support goes beyond moral backing.

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Filed under: Syria
Dem rep. says Obama should 'withdraw' authorization request
September 8th, 2013
10:20 AM ET

Dem rep. says Obama should 'withdraw' authorization request

By CNN's Ashley Killough

The president should cancel his request for Congress to approve U.S. military strikes in Syria, Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said Sunday.

"If I were the president, I would withdraw my request for the authorization at this particular point," the congressman from Massachusetts said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't believe the support is there in Congress."

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Filed under: Syria
September 1st, 2013
01:28 PM ET

Members of Congress split over Syria decision

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Lawmakers were divided Sunday on whether to support President Barack Obama's call for military action in Syria.

Obama announced Saturday he believes the United States should take limited action, but he pledged to seek approval from Congress first.

Supporters of a military strike said Sunday the U.S. must send a message to Syria and other countries that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Opponents argued the U.S. should pursue more diplomatic channels rather than position itself in yet another overseas military conflict.

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Filed under: Congress • Syria
Kerry: Sarin used in Syria
September 1st, 2013
09:33 AM ET

Kerry: Sarin used in Syria

By CNN's Ashley Killough

Blood and hair samples from eastern Damascus, Syria, have "tested positive for signatures of sarin" gas, Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday, arguing that with "each day that goes by, this case is even stronger."

Kerry said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the U.S. obtained the samples "independently" through an "appropriate chain of custody," giving no indication the results came from the United Nations chemical weapons inspectors.

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Filed under: John Kerry • Secretary of State • Syria
August 4th, 2013
11:17 AM ET

Debate over NSA programs gets renewed attention amid terror threat

By Ashley Killough

There's no proof that the current terror threats in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond were uncovered through a federal program that monitors domestic telephone data, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday.

"There's no indication, unless I'm proved wrong later, that that program which collects vast amounts of … domestic telephone data contributed to information about this particular plot," Schiff said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The scope of the secret program set off a political firestorm over civil liberties when a leaked document detailing it was published this summer. Officials say the program only collects metadata of domestic phone calls – under federal court permission – not actual conversations.

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