Just before heading out to spend his weekend hitting the links with President Donald Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Friday broke with the President’s rhetoric surrounding revelations that an FBI informant met with members of the Trump campaign in 2016.
While Graham did not attend the classified meeting between lawmakers and intelligence officials about the informant who reportedly met with two Trump campaign officials as part of a broader counterintelligence operation to determine the scope of Russian meddling, he said he doesn’t agree with Trump labeling the informant a “spy.”
“A confidential informant is not a spy,” he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Friday morning. “I don’t know if there’s a reason to have a confidential informant following a campaign. But let’s put it this way. There needs to be some protocols in place if this ever happens again. Right now, there are rules saying you can’t, you know, you don’t want investigations to change political cycles. So there’s rules about, you know, ending and starting investigations because of the political cycle.”
When pressed further about whether Trump should be using the word “spygate” — his new monicker for the ordeal — Graham said “probably not, but I don’t know.”
“I didn’t go to the meeting,” he added. “I don’t think it’s — I don’t think he’s a spy. And I don’t know who this person was.”
Trump has seized on reports of the informant meeting with two officials on his campaign — Carter Page and George Papadopoulos — to further cement his claims of “deep state” within the Justice Department that he claims is determined to undermine him. He asked the Justice Department to investigate whether political motivations were involved in the decision to dispatch the informant.