Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday morning that Russia and any ally of President Donald Trump working with Russia need “to pay a price” for their involvement in trying to influence the election in Trump’s favor.
“If it is true, it is very, very disturbing to me, and Russia needs to pay a price when it comes to interfering in our democracy and other democracies,” Graham said during an appearance on “Good Morning America” on ABC. “And any Trump person who was working with the Russians in an unacceptable way also needs to pay a price.”
Trump called recent news reports that his aides had contact with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 elections “fake news” Wednesday morning and said the “Russian connection non-sense” was an attempt to “cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.”
Graham said if reports are true, Congress needs a joint select committee to examine the communication between Trump aides and Russia during the campaign and Trump’s business ties to Russia.
The South Carolina Republican senator said he and Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island are doing a preliminary investigation. If they determine these communications did occur, Graham said it would be appropriate to call a joint select committee.
“The Congress is not fake,” Graham said. “There are real members of Congress up here, Republicans and Democrats, who love our country and are going to make sure that checks and balances that have been in place for 200 years work, even when the president is in your own party.”
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned Monday night for telling Vice President Mike Pence he had not spoken about sanctions with a Russian ambassador when they had, in fact, discussed the matter. During the campaign, Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails and said he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia, positions that differentiate him from congressional Republicans.