Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on “Fox News Sunday” he plans to ask the FBI about a New York Times report that it investigated Donald Trump regarding his possibly working on behalf of Russia and against U.S. interests, suggesting that he thinks the FBI went too far and needs “checks and balances.”
“I am going to ask the FBI director – was there a counterintelligence investigation opened up regarding the president as being a potential agent of the Russians? I find it astonishing,” the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Sunday.
“If this really did happen, Congress needs to know about it. How could the FBI do that? What kinds of checks and balances are there?”
Perhaps the same kinds of checks that the Republican-led Congress has shown over this President, in spite of mounting evidence that Trump might not be working in the United States’ best interest and the FBI’s concern that Trump was a threat to our national security. That is to say, none.
Congress is responsible for oversight, not meddling in investigations. There is no reason the FBI would tell Congress about an active investigation, especially a Congress that has gone out of its way, under Republican leadership, to enable and even cover up Trump’s Russia issues.
Graham seems to forget it is he and his Republican colleagues who actually have refused to do their job of checks and balances on this president. That is their job, not the FBI’s job.
Furthermore, when the Obama administration told the Gang of 8 about Russia attacking the U.S. in 2016, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to sign a bipartisan statement condemning Russia’s interference.
Remember that when we told the gang of 8 about Russia attacking our democracy to help Trump in the fall of 2016 McConnell refused to sign a bipartisan statement condemning Russia’s interference. https://t.co/0SmKUcWD5v
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) January 13, 2019
On Saturday, Trump called the report “the most insulting article I’ve ever had written.” Note the way he worded that, as if he is in charge of assigning stories about himself. He is not. That is not how the first amendment works.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I do think it’s curious that throughout that whole summer when these investigations started, you had (Russian President) Vladimir Putin’s policies almost being parroted by Donald Trump,” Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said on the CNN “State of the Union” program.
On Saturday, the Washington Post ran a bombshell of a report indicating that Trump has concealed details about his meetings with Putin, going so far as to take the notes of the meeting out of the hands of the interpreter.
As Jason Easley pointed out, Trump concealing the content of his meetings with Putin doesn’t look good. “The last thing that an innocent president who was suspected of conspiring with the Russians would do is hide all evidence of his meetings with Putin.”
There is no reason why a president working on behalf of the United States of America would not want a detailed record of his conversations with the president of an adversarial foreign power.
Reuters was not able to independently verify details of the Post report.
“When he takes the interpreter’s notes and wants to destroy them so no one can see what was said … it raises serious questions about the relationship between this president and Putin,” Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on ABC’s “This Week.”
It’s very odd that Lindsey Graham, who once said of Trump, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it,” is more concerned about the FBI’s process in protecting our country from a hostile foreign power possibly gaining access to our White House via Trump than he is the very real possibility that Donald Trump is not working in America’s best interests.
Graham is trying to intimidate the FBI from doing the job that both chambers of the then Republican-led Congress refused to do. This is exceptionally bizarre behavior for someone who has taken an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.”
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Additional reporting by Reuters’ Sarah N. Lynch, Doina Chiacu and Tim Ahmann
Updated 4:36 PM to add Ben Rhodes’ tweet.