Sen. Lindsey Graham talks with reporters after stepping off the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 21, 2013.
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Graham links Ukraine to Benghazi


A top-ranking Republican is linking Russia’s ongoing military action in Ukraine to the Obama administration’s handling of the 2012 terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade the Crimea region of Ukraine after taking note of how U.S. President Barack Obama dealt with the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, which killed four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador.

“It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression,” Graham tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

“Putin basically came to the conclusion after Benghazi, Syria, Egypt - everything Obama has been engaged in - he’s a weak indecisive leader,” he said in a follow up tweet about a half hour later, before adding, “I think Putin believes Obama is really all talk and no action. And unless we push back soon, the worse is yet to come.”

Graham and other prominent Republicans have repeatedly criticized the president’s response of the crisis in Ukraine as “weak” and “feckless.”

Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain joined Graham in his criticism of the president in a floor speech Tuesday, but stopped short of drawing the comparison with Benghazi. 

“This president does not understand Vladimir Putin. He does not understand his ambitions. He does not understand that Vladimir Putin is an old KGB colonel bent on restoration of the Soviet– of the Russian empire,” McCain said Tuesday during a speech on the Senate floor.

Even some conservatives balked at the Benghazi-Ukraine connection, including Michelle Malkin, who tweeted “UGH” as she highlighted Graham’s tweet.