President Donald Trump, as most people know by now, has granted Attorney General William Barr full authority to declassify all government secrets related to the Russia collusion investigation, which took nearly two years and involved thousands of documents and scores of individuals.
As Trump has said earlier, “I declassified everything, everything they want. I put it under the auspices of the attorney general. He’s going to be in charge of it.”
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend with anchor Chris Wallace, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he had no problem with that — “not at all from my point of view. I was one of the Republicans insisting that [special counsel Robert] Mueller be allowed to do his job. I never thought it was a witch hunt. The report is in — no collusion. [And] Mueller didn’t do anything on obstruction.”
“Now, I’m insisting that we get to the bottom of this,” added Graham. “I want all the documents around the FISA warrant application released. I want to find out exactly how the counterintelligence operation [against the Trump campaign] began. I think transparency is good for the American people. Not one Democrat seems to care. I was the hero when I said let’s support Mueller,” he also said. “I wish some Democrat would come forward to find out if the FISA court was defrauded by the FBI and the Department of Justice. So, I support Attorney General Barr to make this as transparent as possible.”
Wallace noted that “critics make two points”: “One, can Barr be trusted with these secrets? And two, can he be trusted not to cherrypick the information to make a case for the president?”
The Republican senator was quite clear: “I think he can be trusted. I’m going to look at this. You know, nobody doubted my trust or my ability to be fair when I supported Mueller. The people who are about this are worried about being exposed for taking the law in their own hands. It doesn’t surprise me that the people we are looking at — they don’t want transparency. We’re not compromising national security here,” he added. “We’re trying to create a system to make sure this never happens again by shedding light on what happened with the FISA warrant process, the counterintelligence investigation. Did they have a lawful reason to [have] surveilled President Trump’s campaign? Did they lie to the FISA court? Every American should want to find that out.”
Wallace pointed out that there’s been “an extraordinary war of words” recently between the president and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over the state of affairs in Washington, D.C., of late — and that Trump “ended up saying that House Democrats have a choice. They can either legislate, or investigate.”
The president also said that Democrats need to get rid of all of these “phony investigations.”
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“You have made it clear, Senator, [that] you disapprove of what the Democrats are doing to the president,” said Wallace. “But you also say that he can’t allow them to goad him into ignoring the nation’s problems.”
Graham replied that “Nancy Pelosi is riding a bucking wild bronco called the Democratic caucus. Seventy percent of the Democratic base throughout America wants President Trump impeached. [But] she knows that impeachment would be political suicide because there’s no reason to impeach the president. So, she’s trying to keep the party intact,” added Graham.
“If she goes down the impeachment road, Republicans take back the House, we keep the Senate, President Trump gets re-elected — but her job is very much at risk.”
He went on to say that he thinks “she’s going to be driven toward impeachment. If she goes down that road, it will be suicide for the Democratic Party. From President Trump’s point of view, I disagree with the idea that you can’t work with them while they’re doing things like this. You have to work [together]. If you can’t control, Mr. President, what the Democrats do … you can control what you do — and you need to lead this country to better bridges and roads and lower prescription drug prices.”
“They say no to you, that will help you,” added Graham. “They say yes [to] you, and work with you, that will help the country. So, I don’t believe that the idea of working with the Democrats should be taken off the table because they’re going too far.”
Wallace then tried to call out Graham — saying the senator years ago took a very “different view” of matters during the impeachment effort against former President Bill Clinton.
“Question,” said Wallace. “Why is it an impeachable offense for Clinton or [Richard] Nixon back then to ignore congressional subpoenas —but it’s OK for President Trump to do now?”
“Well, there’s two things here,” Graham replied. ” The Mueller investigation was [conducted by] a special counsel appointed to find out if the president committed a crime, if he colluded with the Russians, if he obstructed justice. The president gave 1.4 million documents to Mueller. Everybody around the president was allowed to testify. He never claimed executive privilege. He complied, no cover-up, worked with Mueller. Mueller is the final word on this for me.”
“I don’t trust House Democrats to be fair. They’re trying to redo the Mueller report,” said Graham.
“If Clinton had stiffed Ken Starr, [who led the investigation against the Clinton administration,] that’s different,” said Graham.
But “what [Rep. Jerry] Nadler [of New York] is doing is trying to destroy the president and his family,” added the senator. “If I were the president, I’d fight back against this political revenge coming out of the House. Mueller was the man of the law. Mueller was an independent voice that we all trusted to be fair. I don’t trust House Democrats to be fair. They’re trying to redo the Mueller report. They’re trying to make up other stuff.”
“At the end of the day, it will be political suicide for them to impeach,” he also said.
“If I were the president, I would fight Nadler tooth and nail. I’m glad he cooperated with Mueller. That’s the difference,” finished Graham on that topic.
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