Sen. Lindsey Graham: Trump 'Hurting His Presidency' by Not Acknowledging That Putin 'Tried to Undercut Our Democracy'

By Melanie Arter | July 10, 2017 | 12:43pm EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (Screenshot of NBC News video)

( - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that President Donald Trump's idea of working with Russian President Vladimir Putin to prevent future election meddling is "pretty close" to "the dumbest idea" he's ever heard.

"It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close. He gave a really good speech in Poland, President Trump did, and he had what I think is a disastrous meeting with President Putin. Two hours and fifteen minutes of meetings; Tillerson and Trump are ready to forgive and forget when it comes to cyber-attacks on the American election of 2016," Graham said. 

"Nobody’s saying, Mr. President, the Russians changed the outcome. You won fair and square, but they did try to attack our election system. They were successful in many ways and the more you do this, the more people are suspicious about you and Russia," he said.

Graham said Trump has a great national security team and is doing a good job in Afghanistan, North Korea, and with ISIL, "but when it comes to Russia, he's got a blind spot."

Graham said "to forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyber-attacks is to empower Putin, and that’s exactly what he’s doing."

When asked whether the president is putting more faith in Putin's word than the word of the intel community, Graham said, "I wouldn’t look at it that way. He seems to be willing to forgive and forget Putin. Even if he brought it up, he’s not willing to do anything about it, so it makes me more committed than ever to get sanctions on President Trump’s desk punishing Putin."

"There’s only one person in Washington - that I know of - that has any doubt about what Russia did in our election, and it’s President Trump, and I hate that, because I really like what he’s doing regarding North Korea, putting them on notice about no missile will ever be used to hit America," the senator added.

"I like what he’s doing in Afghanistan. He took on Assad. He’s got a good plan regarding ISIL, but when it comes to Russia, I am dumbfounded. I am disappointed, and at the end of the day, he’s hurting his presidency by not embracing the fact that Putin’s a bad guy who tried to undercut our democracy, and he’s doing it all over the world," Graham said.

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