Lindsey Graham to Trump: Putin Is Not Your Friend


Sen. Lindsey Graham joins FNC's Martha MacCallum to preview President Trump's upcoming meetings with NATO, UK, and Russian leaders.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, Putin is trying to break NATO and Trumpet is trying to make it stronger. He's got to push our NATO allies to give more, but when you sat down with Putin, I hope you understand that you are sitting down with an enemy of the United States, an enemy of democracy and don't be confused, Mr. President, Putin is not your friend.

MACCALLUM: Do you think he is confused about that?

GRAHAM: No, not really. I think he's trying to have a good relationship, but a good relationship has to be defined by behavior. Putin is not doing anything good in Syria. He's not doing anything good in the Ukraine. He certainly not a friend of the United States by meddling in our election. So I hope the president will not accept Putin's denial that he had nothing to do with interfering in 2016 election because they are still doing it. They are trying to influence the 2018 election.

So be tough on Putin, be tough in our European allies, but remember this, NATO is your friend and Putin is your enemy.

MACCALLUM: Yes. There has been some suggestion that the president has floated the idea of lowering our troop numbers in Europe and tying all of this to trade issues.


MACCALLUM: Do you think that's the way to go or do you think that's dangerous? Senator John McCain basically said today in a tweet that he thinks that's a really bad idea.

GRAHAM: I think we need more troops in the Baltic regions, the border countries next to Russia who have been intimidated by Russia. I think we need to keep our presence in Europe. It's been stabilizing since World War II. But we need to reduce trade barriers between us and the Europeans.

You can do two things at once. You can have a strong military alliance and fight like hell over trade and I think we should do both. Have a strong military alliance, which means NATO members need to pay more. The president is right about that, they are not paying enough.

MACCALLUM: So in terms of the other big news that happened last night, I know you are very happy about Judge Kavanaugh.


MACCALLUM: And the Women's March, folks put out a press release and perhaps, you know, they need a better fact-checker because this is the press release. It says, "In response to President Trump's nomination of xx to the Supreme Court of the United States the Women's March is released on the fallen states."

It goes on to, you know, basically say this person is a horrible person and that he's going to change the way that we see life here in America. I mean, pretty incredible, just blanket disapproval before they even knew who it was.

GRAHAM: Well, President Trump could nominate George Washington and they would all be up in arms. It seems to be that if you are running for president on the Democratic side in 2020 or thinking about it, you have to prove you are the most insane person when it comes to Trump nominees.

It's sad to see my colleagues think so low. This is a well-qualified nominee. He's lived an incredible life. He's one of the greatest conservative minds of his generation. He's every bit as qualified as Sotomayor and Kagan. Every president deserves a chance to pick nominees that are highly qualified.

And Brett Kavanaugh is one of the smartest most qualified people any president could choose as a Republican. What they are saying is elections matter only when Democrats win. We're going to fight back in the judiciary committee. We are going to protect this man's good name and he's going to get confirmed and I predict Democrats will come on board, because you can't go to these red states and justify a no vote. He's just too well-qualified.

MACCALLUM: What to say to those who express concern about the Russia investigation and that Judge Kavanaugh's history in protecting executive powers makes them believe that this was sort of a preventative move, that they feel that they are going to have a friend on the court if it ever comes to a question of impeachment for this president?

GRAHAM: I think that's a red herring argument. He wrote in 2009, long before Donald Trump even thought about running for president that a sitting president needs to be able to focus on their job and if they do something really out-of-bounds, impeachment is probably the best tool available.

There's been a debate for decades about whether or not you can indict a sitting president.


GRAHAM: So he said nothing out of the ordinary. They are trying to make it something extraordinary when it's not. They're looking for every reason in the world to take this guy down. It's not going to work. He is just too well-qualified and not only what I want him to be on the Supreme Court, I'd like this guy to be my neighbor. What a life he has left.

MACCALLUM: All right. I've got to leave it there but you believe he will pass in the Senate and that Murkowski and Collins will be on board?

GRAHAM: They are two very serious senators. I think they're going to look at him and say he's highly qualified. Yes, I believe not only will he pass with all Republicans, he's going to get a handful of Democrats and it's sad that he doesn't get 95 or 100 votes. It used to be not this way and I'm so sad to see the judiciary be beaten up like this, but he's going to get through.

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