On Wednesday, President Trump made a comment that ended up earning him rebukes from both sides of the aisle. In an Oval Office interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump said that he wouldn’t necessarily contact the FBI if he received incriminating intel on a political opponent from a foreign agent. “It’s not an interference,” Trump said. “They have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong. I think I’d want to hear it … I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening.” That kind of thing, he suggested, is what happens in “opposition research.”
One of those on the right going on record in unequivocal disagreement with Trump is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). But while Graham took a moment to push back on Trump’s statement, which he called a “mistake,” he also took the opportunity to expose what he suggested was Democratic hypocrisy on the issue.
In his reponse to reporters about the controversy Thursday, Graham emphasized that “no party should be hiring foreign agents to look at their opponents.” But, as Ed Morrissey points out, Graham made sure not to leave his comment there. Instead, he took the chance to remind Democrats about what “actually” happened in 2016.
“I’m hoping that some of my Democratic colleagues will take more seriously that Christopher Steele was a foreign agent paid for by the Democratic Party to gather dirt on Trump — a document unverified used to get a warrant,” said Graham. “That’s why I’m so upset about that. Foreign influence in our elections is growing not lessening, and we don’t want to send a signal encouraging it. So that’s why I think looking at the FISA process regarding the Steele dossier is important.”
The FBI’s handling of the dossier produced by Steele and funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign, particularly its role in obtaining a FISA warrant on a Trump associate, is currently under multiple investigations.
“I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s a mistake of law, and I don’t want to send a signal to encourage this,” Graham said. “And I hope that my Democrat colleagues will be equally offended by the fact that this actually did happen in 2016, where a foreign agent was paid for by a political party to gather research. All those things are wrong.”
Graham also faulted Donald Trump Jr. for sitting down with a person during the 2016 campaign that claimed to have intelligence from Russian sources, which turned out to be false, but then again returned to the fact that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton did actually fund opposition research from a foreign agent that helped spark the “collusion” narrative.