South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who in 2015 was a candidate for the Republican nomination, said on CNN Wednesday that his campaign email was hacked by Russian spies.
“They hacked into my campaign account,” said Graham, who was highly critical of President-elect Donald Trump during the campaign but has since pledged to work together in many areas.
The senator’s statements added to the intrigue about allegations that the CIA has concluded that Russia hacked into Democratic Party computer systems in an effort to help Trump defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump has called the reports of the CIA finding “ridiculous” and said “I don’t believe it.”
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes, a California Democrat, said the CIA has rejected his request to brief his committee on its findings.
“It is unacceptable that the Intelligence Community directors would not fulfill the House Intelligence Committee’s request to be briefed tomorrow on the cyber-attacks that occurred during the presidential campaign.” Nunes said. “In particular we want to clarify press reports that the CIA has a new assessment that it has not shared with us.”
Graham said the FBI notified him in August that his campaign’s email vendor had been hacked in June. He said in a statement through his office that the campaign in question was his presidential bid.
Graham opened a bid for the Republican nomination in June 2015, but ended it before the end of the year.
Graham told CNN that he believes Trump is making a mistake downplaying the U.S. intelligence reports that Russia tried to interfere in the election, though he agreed that whatever Russian meddling occurred did not change the outcome of the election.
“The people who work in the United States intelligence community are patriots,” he said. “We need to work as one people to push back against Russia.”
He said Russia must be told “You interfered in our elections, we don’t care why . . . We’re going to hit you and hit you hard.”