Graham Warns Trump On Julian Assange: ‘I Hope No American Will Be Duped’

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference following a meeting with Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. McCain is a part of the U.S. Senate delegation including fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar that is visiting the Baltic region for talks with local political leaders. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
Mindaugas Kulbis/ap

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urged President-elect Donald Trump to accept the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russian-backed hackers interfered in the 2016 election after Trump voiced support on Twitter for Julian Assange.

“I don’t believe any American should give a whole lot of credibility to what Mr. Assange says,” Graham said Wednesday on CNN’s “At This Hour.” “I hope no American will be duped by him. You shouldn’t give him any credibility. Look at his record in terms of how he treats our country.”

The WikiLeaks founder, whose website published thousands of emails from individuals and organizations in the Democratic Party, has maintained that he has no ties to the Russian government and that WikiLeaks’ immediate source for the emails was not the Russian government or a state party.

“I hope the President-elect will get his information and trust the American patriots who work in the intelligence community, who swear an oath and allegiance to the Constitution,” Graham continued later.

Responding to a question about Trump questioning the intelligence community’s conclusions about the hacks of Democratic organizations in a series of tweets on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Graham called the tweets “very disturbing, frankly.”

“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” Trump wrote in one tweet, later referencing an interview between the WikiLeaks founder and Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Intelligence officials have said that the briefing was always scheduled for Friday.

“I don’t mind him challenging intelligence. I don’t mind him being doubtful. I do hope he will listen,” Graham said later. “Everybody that I know of who has been briefed comes to the conclusion that the Russians did it.”

Graham also reiterated his warning that Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, would “have a hard time getting my vote” if he did not “understand what Russia is up to.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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