Lindsey Graham to Rand Paul: President Trump "Wasn't Kidding" When He Told North Korea Military Force Remains On The Table

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on FNC's 'The Story' with Martha MacCallum, Sen. Lindsey Graham responds to Rand Paul's criticism that he is "someone living in an alternative universe" who is "trying to declare war in the middle of" President Trump's summit with North Korea.

Lindsey Graham is a "danger to the country," Sen. Paul told CNN Tuesday, for suggesting that Congress should sign an authorization to use military force against North Korea just in case President Trump and Kim Jong Un fail to reach a diplomatic agreement.

Graham had told Fox News earlier in the week that he wants " all my Republican colleagues to tell North Korea and China that if diplomacy fails we will have the president's back and authorize him to use military force as a last resort."





"Are you trying to declare war on North Korea, Senator?" FNC's Martha MacCallum asked Sen. Graham.

"No, I’m actually trying to prevent one," he said.

"Contrary to what Senator Paul says, the only way you're going to get North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons program is for them to believe they are better off without it than with it, and that comes down to Trump convincing them that they can no longer go on the path they are going without a fight."

"Here's what the choices are for North Korea," Graham explained. "Column A is economic incentives, security guarantees, a good life for North Korea and security for the regime. Column B is going to be the destruction of the regime if you don't give up your nuclear weapons program. President Trump wasn't kidding when he said he would use military force. It is the last option."

Full transcript in which Graham also discusses the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FNC: But, first, we go to Senator Graham who did speak with the president just a short time ago.

Senator Graham, always good to see you. Thanks for being here tonight.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: What did you say to the president about how he did?

GRAHAM: Great job. I think it's a good first step. He felt good about it. He said, I had a good meeting with Kim Jong-un.

And what really struck me is he said, listen, this has got to come to an end. We can't live with this kind of threat. He's got to give up his nuclear program.

I want to make it a win-win. A war would be devastating. I don't want to go down that road. He felt pretty good about the initial meeting. We've got a long way to go.

But what struck me the most is how much the president appreciated how devastating a war would be, but it would be even more devastating to walk away from his nuclear threat. He's going to end it on his watch is what he told me.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating.

This is Rand Paul speaking out about something that you said about all of this earlier. Watch this.

(LAUGHTER)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: In the midst of a historic opening of President Trump actually having face-to-face conversations with the leader of North Korea, Lindsey Graham trying to declare war in the middle of that is, I don't know, someone living in an alternative universe. It's not really helpful in the middle of an opening to actually talk about, oh, yes, if we don't like this, we are going to, you know, bomb them or declare war on them.

MACCALLUM: Are you trying to declare war on North Korea, Senator?

GRAHAM: No, I’m actually trying to prevent one.

Here's what I believe about North Korea. They wouldn't be talking to Trump unless they believed he was serious about using military force. President Trump has done more in 500 days to deal with North Korea than every president in the last 30 years.

Here's what the choices are for North Korea. Column A is economic incentives, security guarantees, a good life for North Korea and security for the regime. Column B is going to be the destruction of the regime if you don't give up your nuclear weapons program.

President Trump wasn't kidding when he said he would use military force. It is the last option.

Contrary to what Senator Paul says, the only way you're going to get North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons program is for them to believe they are better off without it than with it, and that comes down to Trump convincing them that they can no longer go on the path they are going without a fight.

MACCALLUM: Yes, that's what I found fascinating last night, because the one thing that we know for sure is that the status quo cannot stay, right?

GRAHAM: It is over.

MACCALLUM: And that's what the North Korean dictator has figured out, no doubt.

GRAHAM: Yes.

MACCALLUM: That's why he showed up to talk about this, because he knows he's got pressures at home as well.

GRAHAM: Yes.

MACCALLUM: He's got this little small growing elite class which is minor, but they are pushing back on him and then he's got this other choice that if he goes back to what he was doing before, firing missiles across the ocean and testing nuclear missiles potentially, that we’re going to start firing back at him.

GRAHAM: Can you imagine what would happen if Kim Jong-un threw a fit and walked away and said, you know, I’m done with Donald Trump and fired a missile over Japan? What do you think Donald Trump would do?

Donald Trump would see that as a provocative act against the United States and he would retaliate. What Senator Paul doesn't understand is that you’re cutting the legs out from President Trump when you talk about you were not really serious about the military option.

I don't want it. It would be devastating as a last resort. But if North Korea doesn't believe that we are serious about the military option, you’re never going to get a peaceful result.

MACCALLUM: All right. Here's Dennis Rodman, because I know to want to --

GRAHAM: Yes. Now, this is the real expert, not me.
t
MACCALUM: Hold on, this is actually. I want to play this. This is James Clapper praising Dennis Rodman. Watch this.

GRAHAM: You're kidding me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I have long been an advocate of involving Dennis Rodman. He is a unique person since he has a relationship with both Kim Jong-un and with Donald Trump.

(ENDVIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Lindsey Graham?

GRAHAN: I would rather have Trump in the room than Dennis Rodman.

You know, I hope James Clapper understands that President Trump has brought this historic opportunity about because he has been strong in the face of aggression. He wants to end this nuclear threat through peace, but if he has to use force, he will.

Dennis Rodman is not the key to a good outcome in North Korea. It's Donald J. Trump.

President Trump, you’ve done a good thing, you’ve done a good service to the country, maybe to North Korea if they are smart enough to take this deal. I’ve got your back, nobody wants a war. But I’m here to tell you, Mr. President, make sure he gets rid of his nuclear weapons before it's too late.

MACCALLUM: I got to ask you one more question before I let you go about Rod Rosenstein --

GRAHAM: Sure.

MACCALLUM: -- and this story tonight that basically there are -- there was a shouting match that happened in one of these meetings and that he’s threatened members of the House Intel Committee with subpoenaing them. You know, he said, I want to see your emails. Let me turn the subpoena game on you, guys.

GRAHAM: OK, we have a duty to oversee the Department of Justice and here's what I say to Mr. Rosenstein. If you don't believe that the Department of Justice was off the rails, you are clearly not looking at the same Department of Justice I’m looking at.

If you don't believe the FBI was in the tank for Clinton and hated Trump, you’re not looking at the emails that are there to be seen. So, don't be upset because we are calling you out on having a Department of Justice that’s out of control. The House has a duty to oversee the Department of Justice, so does the Senate and we’re not going to be threatened by the Department of Justice. We’re going to provide professional oversight.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I’m told that was not just one instance, that that happens on a regular basis --

GRAHAM: Yes.

MACCALLUM: -- in terms of these shouting matches.

GRAHAM: At just about had it with the Rosenstein approach here.

MACCALLUM: What’s going to -- you know, what happens? I mean, where does this end?

GRAHAM: Just stay tuned.

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