Trump secretary of state
Battle swirls over Trump's secretary of state
02:27 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Gen. David Petraeus was convicted of giving classified materials to his biographer

Some GOP senators are concerned of whether he could overcome doubts

CNN  — 

Several GOP senators privately said Thursday they were concerned about the political fallout if David Petraeus is nominated as secretary of state.

They were uncertain he could overcome doubts raised by his conviction for mishandling classified information and win confirmation to be secretary of state if he is picked by President-elect Donald Trump. Some were worried it could spark a major confirmation battle in the opening weeks of the Trump administration.

One GOP senator said there is a “a high level of angst” among Republican senators about the political fallout if Petraeus were to be chosen.

“I have had discussions with several of my colleagues who have expressed anxieties about this issue because, after all, this was an issue in the campaign for Hillary (Clinton) and this individual was actually convicted. It’s surprising to us that he’s in the mix,” said the senator who agreed to speak candidly if not identified.

Another Republican senator privately echoed those concerns saying the choice of Petraeus, who was convicted of giving classified materials to his biographer with whom he was having an extra-marital affair, would be a “self-made fight” and give “pause” to many Republicans.

A third Republican senator, who spoke highly of Petraeus, acknowledged, “it obviously will provoke a lot a discussion.”

“But if that’s what the President-elect wants to do and Petraeus is willing to go through it, I assume he gets confirmed,” that same senator said.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, which would hold confirmation hearings for the position, refused to say if Petraeus could easily be confirmed.

“Let’s wait for the real nominee,” Flake said.

RELATED: Democrats can’t stop Trump nominees, but they can make confirm