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Graham: Trump must punish Russia for election interference

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / Feb. 15

    Today, Sen. Graham urged President Donald Trump to take action against Russia over allegations that Moscow interfered in the election that brought him to power. He says Congress needs to get involved to ensure there are “consequences” for the alleged hacking.

MUNICH (AP) >> A senior U.S. Republican senator on Sunday urged President Donald Trump to take action against Russia over allegations that Moscow interfered in the election that brought him to power.

U.S. intelligence officials have told Trump that Moscow tried to influence voters by hacking Democratic emails and trolling social media sites, but Trump has sought to downplay Russia’s role in the election.

Speaking to world leaders, diplomats and defense officials at the Munich Security Conference, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Congress needs to get involved to ensure there are “consequences” for the alleged hacking.

“2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress,” Graham said.

Referring to upcoming elections in France and Germany this year and concerns of outside interference, Graham said “I promise everybody in this room that Congress is going to take a long hard look what Russia did to undermine our elections, so you’ll be better prepared when they come your way.”

He said he planned to introduce a bipartisan motion for new Russia sanctions and it will get “north of 75 votes.”

“My goal is to put it on Trump’s desk and I hope he’ll embrace the idea that as the leader of the free world he should be working with us to punish Russia,” Graham said.

Russia denies meddling in the election, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying Saturday that “I have seen no facts. There were just some accusations that we tried to hack some Democratic Party website.”

Though the allegations are that the hacking was directed at the Democrats, Graham said “we should have an Article 5 that an attack on one party is an attack on all.” He was referring to NATO’s Article 5, which states that an attack on one member of the alliance is seen an attack of the entire alliance.

“My biggest concern with President Trump … is that he’s never really looked the camera in the eye and said, ‘Even though it was the Democratic Party that suffered from Russian interference, I am now the leader of the free world and I can assure you they’re going to pay a price on my watch for trying to interfere in our election.’”

The conference opened Friday with criticism of Trump from another senior Republican senator, Arizona’s John McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who said “more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.”

Later, answering question about the ouster of Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia, McCain said that the issue “is something that shows in many respects this administration is in disarray and they’ve got a lot of work to do.”

McCain, who has openly quarreled with the president, added that Trump often “contradicts himself” in his statements, and that “some of us have learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says.”

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    • IRT NDNTB, do you have the evidence? If you do pls share. Sen. Graham is basing his comments on “Fake News”. The FBI and Intel groups say there is no coordination between the Trump Campaign and Russia. Come on now, let’s base our news on facts and not on assumptions and fake data.

      • How did Russia interfere with our election? If the answer is the release of Hilary and the DNC emails then that was not the Russians doing. Russia did not write the emails and wikileaks has said it was not given the iñfo from Russia. On top of everything, the only interfering in the election was by THEDNC and the Clinton campaign. When will the media realize that the people can see through their bias?

        • Do you believe wikileaks? Intelligence reports determined a third party provided the emails from the russians to wikileaks. This information was provided to trump last month, which is why he was forced to concede, reluctantly, that russia was responsible.

        • IRT skinny: Could it be that nalogirl thinks Trump is agreeing with Fake News, maybe he is even part of the Fake News…hmmm…Maybe Trump is in bed with all these Fake News outlets…#MAGA

        • IRT skinut: Could it be that nalogirl thinks Trump is agreeing with Fake News, maybe he is even part of the Fake News…hmmm…Maybe Trump is in bed with all these Fake News outlets…#MAGA

        • The independent fact-checking website, Politifact, determined that 17 U.S. government security agencies determined the hacks came from a Russian state-sponsored source. The agencies are: Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Energy Department, Homeland Security Department, State Department, Treasury Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, Navy Intelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They collectively make up the U.S. Intelligence Community.

      • The only “Fake News” is manufactured by Trump’s supporters. It’s well documented. Trump would like to undermine the mainstream news sources because they point out his lies and incompetence.

        • Trump doing a great job of by passing the liberal mainstream media and they can’t handle it. He speaks directly to the people so get used to it.

    • agree. Trump won a narrow election with the help of a foreign power. Many Republicans know this. Trump knows it. I hope the truth comes out. trump is as dirty as they come.

      • Yes Russia did help but so what. Don’t you think the public deserves to know that Hillary made some speaches to big business telling them not to worry? I am no Trump fan but I have yet to see anything that Russia released that is really bad or not the truth. Have you? Problem with Hillary was that she was too coozy with the intelligence and military communities. She was a war hawk and while I voted for her, I knew I would soon be protesting her moves. I still think she would have been a better president but the country decided to go to the town butcher for brain surgery. (I felt the same with Obabma but at least he has resisted this drug and the country improved a lot under him so I am proud that I voted for him)

        • IRT Boots: In agreeing with you, America needs to know about Hillary BUT America needs to also know about Trump/Russia…Why so much concern over Hillary BUT none at all for Trump/Russia connections…Trumpers say that the blind eye that liberals and media had with Hillary/Obama was horribly inexcusable BUT Trumpers want the same treatment and are upset that Trump isn’t allowed that same courtesy of blindness…#MAGA

  • One obvious reason Trump insists that he would have won the popular vote if it weren’t for the 3 million “illegal voters”: narcissistic personality disorder. He can’t sleep at night knowing that more Americans liked Hillary than liked him.

    A more important reason might be that he wants people to think that he’s so popular that he would have won the election even without Russia’s help. Even his supporters have to realize that’s not true. Russia’s interference really did make the difference in the outcome of the race. So this is a dumb salesman’s lie he’s selling to cover up the fact that his win was not legitimate. Trump is illegitimate!!!

    • He is a privileged person who is intent on acceptance by the “common” man…He latches on to truths and/or lies that he thinks will gain him acceptance, not unlike many of us…He thinks people judge him not as the hard working person who has built the Trump empire, he thinks that people look at him as someone whose great life was given to him and not earned…#MAGA

  • Pssst… we have, and will continue to, “influence, by all means” other countries’ elections.

    Democrats are in an uproar because wikileaks exposed what they were doing and reported it.
    Even the democrats are not denying or challenging wikileaks.
    It’s called “Damage Control”. And a lot of folks are falling for it.

    • We influence elections in other countries for the good of America…You condone Russia for influencing our election for the good of Russia…Real American Pride on your part old timer…#MAGA

      • Did it? You think Russia controlled the FBI director who made phony startements shortly before the election? Or what about republicans pulling their typical dirty tricks of voter suppression. I think these two things had more to the Donald winning than anything Russia did. Shame Republicans don’t feel people except white republicans should vote. What pinko commies they have become.

        • Well if Comey indicted Hillary like he should have, this would all be moot, wouldn’t it? Voter suppression is just another tired democrat excuse to cheat. By the way, the Rail is working out real well for the taxpayers of Honolulu, isn’t it?

        • Tsboy, what do you think clinton did to cheat should have resulted in an indictment by comey. He clearly wanted trump to win and would have indicted if a crime had been committed. This is why he held the unprecedented press conference to explain why clinton was not being charged with anything. By declaring that she was “extremely careless” with her handling of the emails, he was trying to embarrass her. He then took it a step further with the later announcement that the fbi was taking another look at the email issue. At the same time, he didn’t say a word about their investigation into the trump campaign’s relationship with the russians. Biased much?

    • Did you read what was in the emails that Wikileaks posted? It was all typical campaign strategy discussions, very thin gruel. The point isn’t whether the content of the emails was earth-shattering (it wasn’t); the point is that the Democratic and Republican parties and their campaigns are the biggest part of our electoral process and the Russians interfered in that process by hacking into one of those campaigns.

    • It’s not just the U.S. little earl – our dearest “friend”, the bear, will not stop with the Ukraine. They won’t stop until the old U.S.S.R. is back. And then?

  • It is time for more Republicans to step with to the plate and call out what is wrong with Trump’s administration. Love for country is foremost. This president lies about everything. Trump is attacking the press in a hateful way to try to silence them. As Sen. McCann said, without a free press, we are on our way to a dictatorship.

    • McCain and Graham are two RINOs that are past due retirement and strongly support the military industrial complex. Nothing wrong with the Trump administration and will flourish once the weeping loser libs get out of the way. He has exposed the Democrats and media for what they really are.

      • IRT Sarge22, fully agree with your post. Was named Hawaii’s McCain 2000 Political Director, in his 2016 re-election to the Senate, $0.00 in contributions. I supported Sen. Ted Cruz and when Sen. McCain called Sen. Cruz a “Gooney bird”, end of McCain support.

      • McCain and Graham have shown some spine. They are the thin end of the wedge that will continue to grow as Trump continues his downward spiral of self-destruction and incompetence. Trump will be replaced by Pence before the year’s over, probably a lot sooner.

        • You mean the yellow stripe. They are nothing more than pro establishment losers who have opposed Trump’s every move. Better they go quietly before they make bigger fools of themselves.

    • Why? Did any democrats speak up about the Obama reign? Uh, NO! Where were you on Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS scandal, Obama Care lies, Hillary’s lies and deceptions, the Iran nuclear deal? What, none of these were scandals, just made up stuff to attack democrats? Sound familiar? So now you democrats and the crooked media are the moral high ground? Put down the crack pipe dude, McCain is so far off base. Trump isn’t trying to silence the media, just calling them dishonest and fools, which they are. The media is still out there saying how horrible Trump is, so how is that silencing them?

  • Checks and balances. Trump may be key to a unified Congress:

    (Graham) said he planned to introduce a bipartisan motion for new Russia sanctions and it will get “north of 75 votes.”

  • Everyone should know by now that I am no fan of the Donald but just what exactly were the Russian interfearance in American elections? and come on, the Donald is right when he says not only Russia does this stuff. Want to talk about interfearing in other country elections read the Shark and Sardines. Does not paint a pretty picture for the US. I really don’t consider releasing confidential info criminal. Didn’t complain when Snowden did it and will not do it if Russia did it. I haven’t really read much about what was released except for some speeches to big business telling them not to worry. This is news? Really? Yet now we have the Donald making the swamp ten times bigger and twice as deep. Democrats need to look at the real problem of a large military industrial complex taking over the country with the help of the intelligence community. We should not buy into it.

      • HRC made a couple of dumb mistakes that made just enough difference to cost her the election. First was using the private server for email, which was accurately described as “extremely careless.” There’s no evidence she did it for criminal reasons, just ignorance, carelessness, and laziness. She will never be prosecuted, because there’s no evidence of criminal activity.

        Second, those Wall Street speeches, for which she got paid millions. Most people would take those gigs, why not? I’d do it…if only someone’d pay me $225k for talking! Trump certainly would do it, and I’m sure he’s made a lot of money on stuff that would turn a lot of voters off. So he’s smart to do that, and also smart to hide his tax returns.

        It was a mistake for Clinton, who’s been eyeing the White House for decades. Again, nothing criminal, but when she’s trying to run as “the people’s candidate,” it’s a dumb political mistake.

        She can blame only herself for that.

    • The goal of Russia’s interference was voter suppression. Trump won the election with the lowest popular vote total in a long time (lower than the last two Republican candidates who both lost). The voter suppression worked, I’d say. Why is this so hard to understand?

    • Boots, I know you’re a sincere poster and a thinker. I’m not an expert myself, but am pretty sure the hacked and released emails, combined with fake news, were just enough for Trump to get the few million extra votes needed to win a close race he was slightly behind in.

      Out of thousands of Hillary and DNC emails hacked, the Russians found just several compromising emails that, combined with fake news and general ignorance, turned a few million voters away from Hillary. Actually, several compromising emails out of thousands is not bad. And none so bad that any reasonable person felt a need for “criminal” prosecution (only campaign lies).

      If you hacked into anyone’s communications, you’ll probably find several shady, dirty, controversial, ambiguous messages. It could be Obama, George W, Tom Brady, Lebron James, Mayor Cladwell, Gov. Ige, maybe even Mother Theresa. How many controversial messages do you think may have been transmitted by Trump and his team? If he ever falls out of Putin’s favor, what fantastic stories you think would be released?

      By choosing to release only the Hillary team’s several controversial emails and none of Team Trump’s, the Russians influenced the election just enough to give Trump the win. Lol, but he still lost the popular vote.

  • Finally, at long last, some Republicans are growing a spine. That’s probably because Trump’s approval rating drops every day and the fact that House and Senate offices have been constantly swamped with people in their districts who believe (correctly) that Trump is unfit for office.

    As his agenda is slowed or stopped by the combination of congressional support erosion and court decisions against him, folks who voted for Trump (a really sorry lot, if comments here are any barometer) will eventually realize the mistake they made.

  • This isn’t about Russia at all. This is a strategic move to force trump to show where his alliances are. If Trump pushes back against this piece of legislation he will have to explain why. It will also spur debate and may end up pushing the investigations people have been asking for that the oversight committee and the DOJ have been refusing to conduct. Things will only get more difficult for the Russian puppet from here on out. I guess we’ll be seeing more rallies…

    • Remember, Sessions is Trump’s boy. You think he’ll investigate and charge anyone? He will stop any attempts to investigate Flynn or any of his people close to his campaign.

      • true, Sessions won’t initiate a criminal investigation… but evidence can be brought to light in the scope of this piece of legislation. If Graham really does have 75 votes, things could get interesting. There are republicans in congress that want to stand up to Trump but won’t do so unless they know for sure that they will be on the right side of things and won’t upset their base. Making this bill only indirectly about Trump gives them that permission structure to do so.

        • Exactly. The politics involved will cause republicans to move slowly unless there is a clear signal that it is more likely than not that it is safe for them to oppose trump.

  • Reince Priebus has subtly modified his stance on Russian involvement in the Trump campaign. He now says, “We have not been informed of even that (Russian involvement).” Of course, he didn’t say who “we” is. Also, saying that investigators are not telling you anything during the course of an investigation is a pretty poor defense.

    As a measure of Priebus’s truthfulness, take his statement today that the “Vice President is in the loop on everything,” which conveniently overlooks that fact that for 12 days Trump withheld from Pence the fact that he had been lied to by Flynn. Pence didn’t learn the truth from Trump; he read it in the Washington Post.

  • Watch this politician. He’ll make a big deal out of this and won’t do squat about it. Will he spearhead an investigation? Will the other republicans demand an investigation? Don’t hold your breath. Not a peep out of McConell, Ryan, Paul, Cruz, Boehner. Busy hiding under a rock.

  • “U.S. intelligence officials have told Trump that Moscow tried to influence voters by hacking Democratic emails and trolling social media sites,”

    The reporter is fudging.

    From what I have read:

    They did not tell him this, they did not have the kind of direct evidence that warrants this wording.
    They told him their judgements, based on indirect evidence.

    With respect to Russia’s having attempted to help Trump by discrediting Clinton, the CIA and FBI had high confidence in this judgement.
    However, the NSA stated that it only had “moderate” confidence in this judgement.
    In other words, they had reservations.

    Sometimes it seems to me that Graham, in order to avenge his primary humiliation to Trump, is willing to provoke a dangerous undiplomatic conflict with Russia, Ditto for McCain.

  • Presidents have tried being nice to Russia– Clinton, Bush, Obama tried being nice– but Russia totally disrespected them and became convinced US is weak. They invaded Crimea and Ukraine and violated treaties and promises to the US most recently by deploying a banned missile. Now Trump is appeasing Russia and loving Putin like no other President– they deployed that missile, and they restarted military action in Ukraine as soon as Trump got elected– totally disrespecting Trump like he did to Obama and Bush and Clinton and inviting a new Cold War. We need the only hawks on Russia– Kerry, and Hillary and even more Republicans that have stood against Russia.

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