National Security

Lindsey Graham Vows to Look into Possible ‘Administrative Coup’ Against Donald Trump

Republican promises action, as even Democrat Chris Coons concedes 'scrutiny' is needed

Image Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty & Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) promised on Sunday morning to subpoena former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, if necessary, to testify before the committee about a possible “administrative coup” that McCabe described in a separate interview, which is airing on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.

“I promise your viewers the following: that we will have a hearing about who’s telling the truth [and] what actually happened,” Graham told Margaret Brennan of “Face the Nation” on CBS.

“The rule of law works both ways. Somebody has got to watch those who watch us. And I intend to watch what McCabe and his crowd did during the 2016 election,” he also said.

“Mr. Mueller is going to look at the Trump campaign, as he should, to see if they violated any laws during the 2016 election. And I’m going to do everything I can to get to the bottom of the Department of Justice FBI behavior toward President Trump and his campaign,” Graham said — adding that everyone needs to know whether the acting head of the FBI and the deputy attorney general mulled an attempted bureaucratic coup.

“If it happened, we need to clean it up … There is no organization beyond scrutiny,” said Graham. “And the FBI will come out stronger.”

Related: McCabe Walks Back His Outrageous 25th Amendment Claim Amid Uproar

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He also praised the FBI in general as “one of the greatest organizations in the world.”

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018 — hours before McCabe was set to retire — for “lacking candor under oath” during an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

The OIG was looking into FBI officials’ unauthorized disclosures to The Wall Street Journal pertaining to an investigation of the Clinton Foundation, as The Atlanta Journal Constitution explained.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, parts of which were released Friday, McCabe told Scott Pelley of CBS that he and Rosenstein discussed invoking the 25th Amendment — possibly to push the president out of office. The 25th Amendment addresses issues related to presidential and vice presidential succession in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation, as Cornell Law School explained.

McCabe’s spokesperson, Melissa Schwartz, denied McCabe’s participation in and knowledge of “any extended discussions about the use of the 25th amendment,” according to CBS.

But Schwartz did acknowledge McCabe was present at a discussion in which Rosenstein commented on the 25th Amendment. (The McCabe interview airs in full on Sunday night on “60 Minutes.”)

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told CBS on Sunday morning he found it appropriate to introduce “some sunshine, some disinfectant here, about everything that led to the beginning and the pursuit of that investigation” — but his concerns seemed much more tempered than Graham’s about the alleged bureaucratic coup.

“I don’t think that this, frankly, rises to the level of some deep state conspiracy or a serious attempt at what Sen. Graham called an administrative coup. I suspect that once this is fully discussed,” said Coons, “it’ll be clearer that this was a brief or passing conversation that’s been taken out of context.”

“But it does deserve scrutiny,” Coons also conceded.

Moving to the matter of President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on Friday, Graham defended its legality and offered his full support.

“And unfortunately, when it comes to Trump, the Congress is locked down and will not give him what we’ve given past presidents.” Graham cited already-passed legislation such as the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which boasted substantial bipartisan support for erecting steel barriers at the southern border.

“So unfortunately, he’s got to do it on his own. And I support his decision to go that route,” said Graham.

“I think the president’s been making a persuasive case the border’s broken,” he also said.

Graham highlighted the tragedy of human trafficking and noted that drugs flowing across the border, particularly opioids, are killing Americans.

“I think that every member of Congress has watched three presidents send troops to the border — Bush, Obama, now Trump. Not one of us have complained about deploying forces to the border to secure the border. It’s pretty hard for me to understand the legal difference between sending troops and having them build a barrier.”

“I support his desire to get it done sooner rather than later,” he said, adding that he was disappointed in his Democratic colleagues’ failure to give Trump the same monetary support for border actions they gave presidents Bush and Obama.

Graham — speaking from a security conference in Munich — also expressed support for keeping “a couple of hundred” American troops in Syria as a “follow-on presence post-caliphate destruction,” and said that Europeans are also willing to contribute troops to the effort.

“A lot of Europeans will come in and help fill in the gap, a very small down payment to secure ISIS never comes back. We’ve gone from thousands of troops in Iraq and Syria down now to a couple of hundred in Syria. Congratulations, Mr. President. The job is not yet done but we’ve done a hell of a job destroying the caliphate.”

Graham also warned that though the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been defeated and destroyed, its remnants remain lethal.

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Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

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