Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham defended President Donald Trump’s contention that merely talking with people, even foreign governments, is perfectly legal.
Graham’s comments came after Jeanine Pirro’s opening statement Saturday night during which the Fox News host defended the president for telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would listen if a foreign source offered opposition research. She also played a statement she made on her show back in 2017:
Now, as someone who has run for office five times, if the devil called me and said they wanted to set up a meeting to give me opposition research on my opponent, I would be on the first trolley to hell to get it. Any politician who tells you otherwise is a bald-faced liar.
“That was very informative to listen to,” said Graham after being introduced.
“Was I wrong?” asked Judge Jeanine.
“No,” said Graham. “Here’s the deal. We do know that the Democratic Party hired a British agent to get dirt on Trump and this British agent I think used foreign intelligence services to come up with a bunch of garbage. I think the Russians were out to hurt everybody including Trump. Who do you think this dossier came from? Do you think Steele made it up? I think he got it from the Russians. I think it was all a bunch of BS and it was used to get a warrant, and I would like for one Democrat to be outraged about that.”
“Is there a country from which you would not meet anyone?” asked Pirro.
“I get talked to all the time,” said the South Carolina senator. “People encourage me, ‘we hope you win,’ foreign people.” (RELATED: Media Matters Defends Democratic Foreign Oppo Research Because They Paid For It After Condemning Trump’s Comments)
Graham stressed that the only thing that’s illegal is taking “money from a non-citizen.”
“Sitting down and talking with somebody is okay,” he said. “People contact me all the time. President Trump is right. Talking to people is not a crime.”
“I’m a politician,” Graham said later. “I meet with foreign people all the time. So does the president. It’s common sense. Sitting down and talking with somebody is fine. But the president said earlier this week, that no, he wouldn’t accept something from a foreign government he thought was wrong. But you don’t call up the FBI every time somebody talks to you. You only call you are up the FBI when somebody is trying to do something wrong.”
“Are people breaking the law when they meet with people from foreign countries?” asked the Fox News host.
“No, they do it all the time,” responded Graham.
The South Carolina’s senator appeared to flip from comments he made earlier in the week when he called President Trump’s comments “a mistake.”
“I think it’s a mistake,” Graham told reporters Thursday. “I think it’s a mistake of law. I don’t want to send a signal to encourage this.”
“I can only speak for myself,” he continued. “I’ve never had a government come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I’d like to help you in your campaign.’ The answer is no. It’s got to be no. I mean, the likelihood of foreign interference is growing, not lessening.”