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Rubio questions Colombia ambassador nominee over Benghazi role

Marco Rubio 3

@alextdaugherty @francoordonez 

Sen. Marco Rubio questioned Joseph Macmanus, a career foreign service officer who could become the U.S. ambassador to Colombia, over his ties to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's initial response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya. 

Macmanus was working as Clinton's executive assistant in September 2012, and was part of Clinton's inner circle as the details of the attack began to unfold. The attack killed ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Multiple Republican senators, including Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, have said they plan to delay or sink Macmanus' nomination over his ties to Clinton and the Benghazi attack

"When did you know the attacks were terrorism and not related to anti-American protests and when did you first inform the Secretary of State of that fact?" Rubio asked Macmanus. 

"I used the term terrorist attack because that's what I judged it to be," Macmanus replied. "It was not a legal determination it was not based on an amass of evidence or analysis, it was the term that I used to describe what I saw taking place." 

Macmanus also said he never purposely misled the American people about the nature of the attack. 

Rubio also questioned Macmanus about trying to stop Colombian cocaine production, and Venezuela's role in drug trafficking. 

"The border between Colombia and Venezuela is rife for mischief and illegality," Macmanus said. 

And Rubio also asked Macmanus about the ongoing refugee crisis and the Venezuela-Colombia border. 

"As you see more and more people coming across the border...do you anticipate at some point, if not already, that the U.S. will need to step up and provide Colombia assistance along with the international community to deal with pressures being created by these large number of refugees flowing into Colombia from Venezuela?" Rubio asked. 

"I think Colombia understands deeply the depth of this particular problem and crisis," Macmanus said.