Those who participated in the 2015/2016 surveillance and spy operations, which evolved into the 2017 (through today) soft-coup effort, are relying on a defense that Russia ‘hacked’ the 2016 election. This false narrative is how the corrupt administrative state will defend themselves.
Pay close attention to this interview and note how Senator Graham supports that narrative saying: “the Russians hacked into John Podesta’s e-mails, the campaign manager for the Democratic candidate for President. The Russians hacked into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, the candidate for the Democratic Party.”
This ‘Russia-hacking narrative’ is the DC ‘chaff and countermeasures‘; when combined with their ‘by-the-book‘ justifications, it becomes their unified defense. Once you accept their baseline, it becomes much more difficult to expose their unlawful conduct.
[Transcript] MARGARET BRENNAN: We just heard about this tragic shooting. It was an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon. Hate crimes seem to be on the rise–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –in this country. What do we need to do to combat this, prevent it?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, I think somebody interdicted the shooter, thank God, and it could have been worse, but in– I think in California you can’t buy a gun until you’re twenty-one. So let’s find out how this guy got the gun, what his motives were and I’m a big supporter of protective orders, allowing local law enforcement to go to a judge if there’s ample evidence somebody is becoming a danger to themselves or others. About fifteen states have such laws. I’m trying to get a national grant program to incentivize states to pass laws to allow local law enforcement to go to judges to take guns out of hands of people that are showing really disturbing signs or danger signs. And I think in Parkland that would have made a big difference, here I don’t know.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’ll continue to follow the details as we learn more about what happened there, but I want to talk about what you are preparing for this week.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Attorney General Barr will be answering questions for the first time really in detail about the Mueller Report. I know you’ve said you’re done with it.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Mm-Mm. Pretty much.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But what is it that you’re going to try to focus in on with this hearing?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, he gave a four-page summary. Does the report support his summary? Does the report actually indicate there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians? I think the idea that this President obstructed justice is absurd. He turned over a million documents to the special counsel. Almost everybody around him testified. I can’t think of one thing that President Trump did to stop Mueller from doing his job. He never claimed executive privilege. From my point of view I’ve heard all I need to really know. Now I want to look at it and find out how all this happened.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But on that point of attempting to obstruct justice or not–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Mm-Hm.
MARGARET BRENNAN: the President seems to want to continue to litigate this because he came out this week and said–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah, yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –and denied that he had ever thought or told anyone–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah, right.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –to fire Don McGahn, the White House counsel. But that directly contradicts sworn testimony–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –that was in the Mueller Report, where Don McGahn said he almost quit–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –he was so pressured to fire the special counsel.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, that’s a–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Who do you believe?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I– I think it’s just all theater. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care what he said to Don McGahn. It’s what he did. And the President never obstructed–
MARGARET BRENNAN: It doesn’t matter to you–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Oh, God, no. I mean–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –that the President is changing a version of events that perhaps some would say, lying.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: If you’re going to– if you’re going to look at every President who pops off at his staff and, you know, ask him to do something that’s maybe crazy, then we won’t have any Presidents.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But in terms of the firing this was Don McGahn, the White House counsel, being pressured to fire the special counsel.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: But he didn’t.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: And I don’t care–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don’t care what they talked about. He didn’t do anything. The point is the President did not impede Mueller from doing his investigation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And it doesn’t–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Case closed.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –trouble you that the President is changing his version of events?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don’t– I don’t care what happened between him and Don McGahn. Here’s what I care about. Did Mueller– was Mueller allowed to do his job? And the answer is yes. Name one thing that they did to stop Mueller from doing his job, and if you can’t then there’s no obstruction.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Will you call McGahn to testify?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Not me? No. No, I’m– I’m done.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What about the special counsel?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I’m not going to re-litigate it. I don’t know how clear I can be, Margaret. It’s over for me. He didn’t collude with the Russians, obstruction of justice in this situation is absurd. I fought hard as hell to make sure Mueller could do his job; I introduced legislation to make sure he couldn’t be fired. It’s over.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But in terms of this report it was not just the obstruction of justice that you seem to be saying you’re over. All the details in here about Russia and what they tried to do, what they did succeed at doing in terms of–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: That’s a–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –accessing computer systems.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: –different conversation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn’t that worth–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: A hundred percent.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –a– a conversation? I mean, Senator Marco Rubio came out and said this week he went as far as to say that they had the ability; they were in a position to alter Florida voter rolls back in 2016.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I– I think that– that’s the point. There’s two things I’m going to look at: what did they do, and are they trying to do it again, and how do we stop them. I think that’s something we all need to focus on. And how did this start. How could–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the President focused on that enough, on that–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah. He’s got a good team around him–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –doing it again, the threat?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah. No, he’s got a good team around him to make sure we harden our infrastructure. But what Marco said was a bit stunning I’ve never heard that before. So what I want to do is make sure that Intel and Judiciary and Homeland Security, the three committees are working together to harden the infrastructure against Russia or anybody else interfering in 2020. And Russia is still up to it. So the takeaway for me is that they were very involved in the 2016 election. They’re coming at us again. I’d like to stop them. And one way to stop them is to make them pay a price.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re talking about this with a level of seriousness that we did not hear from Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the President. I want to play for you some sound when he was speaking this week about the Russia probe when he said it was actually more damaging to have the Mueller investigation. Listen to what he said.
JARED KUSHNER (Tuesday/TIME): Quite frankly, the whole thing’s just a big distraction for the country. And you look at, you know, what Russia did–you know, buying some Facebook ads to try to sow dissent and do it, and it’s a terrible thing. But I think the investigations, and– and all of the– the speculation that’s happened for the last two years, has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads. Now if you look at the magnitude of what they did and what they accomplished I think the ensuing investigations have been way more harmful to our country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is he minimizing the threat to national security?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, I like Jared a lot, but he is leaving out a big detail: the Russians hacked into John Podesta’s e-mails, the campaign manager for the Democratic candidate for President. The Russians hacked into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, the candidate for the Democratic Party. Can you imagine what we would be saying if the Russians or the Iranians hacked into the presidential team of the Republican Party? So, no, this is a big deal. It’s not just a few Facebook ads. They were very successful in pitting one American against the other during the 2016 campaign by manipulating social media and they actually got into the campaign e-mail system of the Democratic Party. An attack on one party should be an attack on all. The Russians are up to it again. And here’s what I tell President Trump: Everything we’ve done with the Russians is not working. We need more sanctions not less.
MARGARET BRENNAN: More sanctions, now?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Now. Before 2020. Because, clearly, they don’t have the message.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I also want to ask you about some of the remarks you have made in the past because we know as Democrats start talking about the details of the Mueller Report, combing through it and already calling for impeachment proceedings to begin against the President of the United States. Here’s what you said back in January of 1999 when you were helping to lead the impeachment of President Clinton.
REPRESENTATIVE LINDSEY GRAHAM (January 16, 1999): The point I am trying to make is you don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic, if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Thank God you did that because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you agree?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I was a lot younger.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it sounds like some of what you are characterizing here, saying everything in the Mueller report, it may not be great but it doesn’t reach the level of being able to prosecute.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well a high crime–
MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s different from what you described there, which was to say behavior of a President–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Sure it does.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –the cleansing of an office–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well it– it-
MARGARET BRENNAN: –is important.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: It’s got to be a higher crime a misdemeanor not defined by the prosecution team but by a political body called the House of Representatives approved by the Senate. So there was an article of impeachment against President Clinton for lying under oath about having sex with Monica Lewinsky. I voted against that because I believe a lot of people would lie to protect their family if they were blindsided about an affair. So I didn’t want that to become a higher crime or misdemeanor. What President Clinton did was interfere in a lawsuit against him by Paula Jones and others; hide the evidence; encourage people to lie. So to me he took the legal system and turned it upside down. But it doesn’t have to technically be a crime. What President Trump did here was completely cooperate in an investigation, a million documents, let everybody that the special counsel wanted to talk to be interviewed. Don McGahn was interviewed for thirty hours. I believe the President did nothing wrong. Whether you like him or not I’ll leave that up to you but this–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But even the pressuring Don McGahn–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: See but–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –to fire the special counsel. He may not have done it.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: See that– Okay, if you’re going to let that be the standard of impeachment, that you have an interaction between a White House counsel and a president that– that you find uncomfortable then we’ll have nobody served. So here’s the deal for me: you actually have to do something. Bill Clinton lost his law– law license five years because he did something. But to my Democratic friends, if you agree with the 1999 statement I made–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: –you think this office needs to be cleansed, impeach him. It’s up to you. If you think Donald Trump deserves to be impeached then impeach him. I don’t.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Quickly, before you go, I want to ask you about your old friend Joe Biden–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –the vice president throwing his hat into the ring, President Trump seeming to suggest he’s too old. What do you think?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, yeah, that’s up to the voters to decide. I think President Trump is very vibrant. And I know Joe– Joe Biden. If you travel with Joe Biden, you won’t think he’s too old. Here’s the problem for Joe. Does he fit into the Democratic Party of 2020? I don’t know; he’s a good man. I like him a lot. I disagree with him on– on policy. I hope he doesn’t apologize for the life he’s led because he’s led a good life. But if he starts apologizing for all the policy positions and decisions he’s made throughout his life that will be disappointing. I don’t know how he fits in this party but I do know this:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: He’s a good man and he would be a strong candidate.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Graham, thank you.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Thank you.