Speaking with John Dickerson on Sunday’s Meet the Press, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham answered questions about the possible impact of Paul Manafort’s plea bargain and required cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Graham responded with the following quote.
“I don’t know yet. I know that from the judiciary point of view, we found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. I think Richard Burr said from the intel point of view that he’s seen no evidence of collusion, but we’re waiting on Mueller. Let’s let Mueller do… his job.”
Graham, a former prosecutor, said that even though Mueller has 32 indictments and five guilty pleas in his current investigation, none of them at this point indicate collusion with Russia, and that it’s not uncommon for cases to change from their original focus. He also states, though, that he doesn’t know what Manafort or disgraced former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn know.
“At the end of the day, I haven’t heard anything coming out of the Mueller world showing collusion between Trump and the Russians, but that’s why you let a guy like Mueller do his job. I trust him to be honest and fair, and time will tell.”
When asked about whether he felt the investigation was proceeding as he would expect it to based on his experience as a prosecutor, Graham indicated that he wasn’t surprised that the investigation was started based on concerns of collusion but has morphed into something more about financial crimes. He also pointed out to CBS News that he didn’t know where it was going; information from Flynn or Manafort could change the direction of the investigation again. He stressed, though, that “not one Republican in the Senate has done anything to stop this investigation.”
He reaffirmed that the Republican leadership in the House and Senate are committed to making sure the Mueller investigation runs its course before getting in a slight dig at the Democrat leadership. “I wish I had some Democrats concerned about Strzok… and Paige and Bruce Ohr,” he said. “That’s going to be done later…” Early in the interview, he had also expressed disappointment in the Democratic handling of the Clinton email “corruption.”
The interview began with a brief talk about the impact of Hurricane Florence on Graham’s home state and ended with a discussion of the fate of U.S. dependents in North Korea. Face The Nation airs Sunday mornings on CBS.