Sen. Graham to House GOP: 'For God's sake step up your game' on Benghazi

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 20, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Today, President Obama saying the U.S. is investigating whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria. We asked Senator Lindsey Graham if the U.S. should do anything else in Syria.


VAN SUSTEREN: Troops on the ground in Syria, you think it's time?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SC: The day after Assad leaves, the biggest fear I have is, where do the chemical weapons go? Remember what happened in Libya, all of these weapons are in the Middle East. When Assad falls, we need an international coalition and we'll be part of it to secure the 10 or 12 weapons sites that have the weapons. If we don't control those chemical weapons, we'll be in real trouble down the road.

VAN SUSTEREN: The country, many have war fatigue.


VAN SUSTEREN: And so when you raise the thought of boots on the ground in Syria, most people chills go up their spine.

GRAHAM: I totally get it. Here is what I hope we're not tired of -- defending ourselves against weapons of mass destruction. And the question for the American people at large is, who gets the weapons when Assad falls, radical Islamists or control them so we make sure they're not in the bad guys in general.

I'm sorry the war is going on so long and I'm sorry the Arab spring is breaking apart, but we live in a world that's very dangerous. And I want the people of South Carolina and the public at large to say, your war weary, but trust me, if we let these weapons get into the Iran or Islamist hands, we'll pay the price. And the good news is we can secure them with a very small footprint, and it should be an international footprint, just not an American footprint.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think about what President Obama said today about what's going on in Syria?

GRAHAM: I think the President Obama has mishandled Syria. What makes you believe the Iranians believe we're serious about stopping their nuclear program when Assad has killed 70,000 of its own people? President Obama has changed the red line with Syria three different times. I think they did use chemical weapons.

VAN SUSTEREN: In the recent discussion?

GRAHAM: Yes. I really believe the facts are going to be born out that a chemical attack was committed by the Assad regime and President Obama says don't go down that road. Well, what do we do about it if they did? The president's policies in the Middle East from Benghazi to Syria to Iraq, now Iran, are failing. The region is on fire, and if I were Israel I'd want to trust but verify when it came to Barack Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: You raised Benghazi.

GRAHAM: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you've been pushing that issue for quite some time. Tell me, what is your next step?

GRAHAM: We're finally getting people to come forward and talk. They're afraid to come forward, a lot of them still work for the government. I want the families to know what happened that night and American people know what happened on the ground. Look what we've learned by pushing. Susan Rice's story, this was by a spontaneous event caused by hateful video, has crumbled. I want to know, what happened that night. Did they ask for help? Who did they ask from? Why was no help provided?

VAN SUSTEREN: You can ask the survivors to the extent you get to know them and that's an issue to get their names. But the House of Representatives, your party is in the majority and for whatever reason hasn't issued subpoenas for that information. You know, they could issue subpoenas and demand people come forward.

GRAHAM: I believe the attitude of the house leadership is changing when it comes to Benghazi, they're going to be more aggressive. But you make a good point. I've written CIA Director Brennan, Secretary of State John Kerry, provide the names of the survivors to the Congress in an appropriate way so we can interview them about what actually happened. The story told by the White House after the attack has not held water.

VAN SUSTEREN: Everyone writes letter in this town. Letters never get answered unless you're in the majority party.

GRAHAM: There you go. And my Democratic colleagues in the Senate have shown no interest in getting to the bottom of Benghazi. If this were Bush they'd be all over it. The one thing Republicans can do is use the leverage they have in the House to subpoena these survivors so we'll find out what happened that night. I guarantee you there are people wanting to talk, but are afraid to talk, and a subpoena would make a difference.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to do anything, encourage the House to do that?

GRAHAM: I'm going to meet with the House leadership tomorrow, hoping they will take up the Benghazi cause. Look how far we've come from what the story was told by Susan Rice. Look what we found out by pushing on this show and other shows, CBS and mainly FOX. The whole scenario told by the president and Susan Rice has absolutely collapsed.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why hasn't the House leadership --

GRAHAM: I have no idea.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why the Republican House leadership hasn't been --

GRAHAM: To my House colleagues, please, for God's sake step up your game when it comes to Benghazi. You have tools I don't because I'm in the minority party in the Senate. Unfortunately Harry Reid hasn't looked to push the administration. Look what we did on Iraq and interrogation techniques gone bad under t the Bush administration. The Democratic senators have given the president a pass when it comes to Benghazi. The House cannot give him a pass.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to tell Speaker Boehner to push for subpoenas?

GRAHAM: I think that Speaker Boehner is very much in the mindset of trying to get to the bottom of Benghazi. But yes, I will urge Speaker Boehner to use the powers of the House not to chase rabbits, but to get to the bottom line. We have not heard from the people who went through this debacle who were there on the ground. I guarantee if this had been a good news story we would have heard from them the next day. The fact we haven't heard from them for six months should make every American worried about what this administration is covering up.