Ardent Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) predictably echoed the President in his reaction to the Justice Department Inspector General’s report focused on the origins of the Russia probe during a Monday afternoon press conference.
Graham started the presser by arguing that “the point I want to make is: let’s assume for a moment it started out OK, it sure as hell didn’t end OK.”
Despite acknowledging that “there may be reasonable differences about whether there was a lawful predicate,” Graham said that “not only did the system got off the rails” but in his view became a “criminal enterprise.”
The long-awaited IG report found that there was sufficient evidence to launch the Russia probe in 2016 and that political bias did not influence the opening of the investigation. However, the report also found that there were “significant inaccuracies and omissions” regarding the FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign foreign policy aide Carter Page.
“Not only did the system go off the rails, but in my view became a criminal enterprise to defraud the FISA court, to deny American citizen Carter Page’s constitutional rights and to continue an operation against President Trump — as President of the United States — that I think was fundamentally flawed and unlawful,” Graham said, before saying that “these are statements I don’t make lightly” and are “based on the findings of the report.”
Much like Trump’s criticism of the report earlier Monday during a roundtable on school choice at the White House, Graham repeated similar sentiments throughout the press conference regarding what he views as an attack against Trump and Page.
“If that doesn’t bother you, you hate Trump way too much,” Graham said. “That should bother every American.”
The staunch Trump defender also echoed the President by saying that he views the release of the report as “a sad day” but that “there are better days ahead.”
Watch Graham’s remarks below:
Senator @LindseyGrahamSC on Justice Department IG Report: "The point I want to make is, let's assume for a moment it started out okay, it sure as hell didn't end okay."
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 9, 2019