Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told ‘Meet the Press’ host Chuck Todd on Sunday that the Justice Department needs to be investigated following allegations of partisan bias against President Trump.
“This FBI agent that Mr. Mueller fired,” Graham said, referring to agent Strzok, “The way he conducted the Clinton email investigation should scare us all. It could be Trump today, you tomorrow.”
He added: “So the FBI needs to play by the rules too. I support Mr. Mueller, but somebody needs to look at the Department of Justice.”
“Senator, you are painting, you are painting a picture of a lawless Department of Justice and a lawless F.B.I., totally filled with political partisanship. Do you really believe this?” Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked.
“I believe that Mr. Strzok was a political hack,” Graham answered. “I believe that Mr. Ohr had a conflict of interest. His wife worked for the organization that produced the dossier. And if he interacted with Mr. Steele, that is wrong. I believe Mr. Mueller fired Mr. Strzok for a reason. But that’s not the end of the inquiry.”
Transcript, via NBC:
CHUCK TODD: Welcome back. Even before President Trump was inaugurated, Republicans promised to get to the bottom of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. On Friday, Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina issued what’s called a “criminal referral” of Christopher Steele to the Justice Department. Steele, as some of you know, is the former British spy who produced the infamous dossier on candidate Donald Trump. In other words, the two Republican Senators are asking for an investigation of a man, who many believe was simply trying to expose Russian meddling. So joining me now to discuss this and some other issues is Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham, welcome back.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Thank you. Thank you
CHUCK TODD: It is — I want to play something that you said to me one year ago tomorrow.
SEN. GRAHAM: Ok.
CHUCK TODD: Here is it.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: If after having been briefed by our intelligence leaders, Donald Trump is still unsure as to what the Russians did, that would be incredibly unnerving to me because the evidence is overwhelming. If after the briefing, he is still unsure, that will shake me to my core about his judgement[END TAPE]
CHUCK TODD: Senator Graham, just yesterday the president, again, referred to the Russia investigation as a hoax.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.
CHUCK TODD: I take it you must still be unnerved.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, the president does now finally believe that the Russians stole the emails from the DNC and hacked — and Clinton —
CHUCK TODD: He does?
SEN. GRAHAM: –and the Russians. Yea. Yea. But he believes that collusion is a hoax. All I can say is that it’s not a hoax. The Russians stole the emails. They did interfere in our elections. We now know that Trump Junior met with the Russians in Trump Tower and that Bob Mueller is doing a great job. He’s the right guy at the right time. He needs to be allowed to do his job. And whether or not there’s collusion — Bob Mueller will tell us. I’ve seen no evidence of collusion but the idea of Jeff Sessions being able to investigate the campaign he was on is unacceptable. Jeff Sessions did the right thing. It would be impossible for him to look into the Trump campaign activities with the Russians. Wh–Mr. Mueller had to be appointed as special counsel. But we need a second special counsel to look at the way the Department of Justice conducted themselves.
CHUCK TODD: Alright, before I get to that, I want to ask you. Does the president’s behavior towards Russia and Vladimir Putin throughout his first year in office at all raise any suspicions with you?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I’ve always — I always said he had a blindspot to Russia but things are changing for the better. He finally allowed the Ukraine to be given defensive weapons. But when it comes to Russia, I’ve said on your show a million times, he has an attitude toward Putin that I think is counterproductive. The president does believe his intel agencies. He is firmly telling the world he didn’t collude with the Russians and we’re not gonna let him be the final authority on that. We’re gonna let Mr. Mueller tell us whether or not this campaign colluded with the Russians and I will do everything I can to make sure that Mr. Mueller does his job. But there’s other things about the Department of Justice and this investigation that bother me greatly and I think we need a special counsel to look at those things.
CHUCK TODD: How does a second special counsel, right now, somehow not become disruptive to Mr. Mueller’s ability to do his job?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don’t think Mr. Mueller can look at Mr. Stroke, Strzok — I can’t remember the gentleman’s name. But the guy who was in charge of the Clinton email investigation was fired by Mr. Mueller because we discovered emails between Mr. Strzok and Miss Lace, who was —
CHUCK TODD: By the way, doesn’t that make you feel better about Mr. Mueller, that he fired him before anybody brought it up —
SEN. GRAHAM: Oh it does, it does. Absolutely
CHUCK TODD: — before it became some right wing conspiracy
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Absolutely. It makes me feel good about Mr. Mueller but it doesn’t make me feel good about Mr. Strzok. Here’s what one of the emails said, to Miss Lace he was writing. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office, that there’s no way he gets election, but I’m afraid we can’t take…