President-elect Donald Trump “has a blind-spot” toward Russia, according to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaking on CNN Wednesday during an interview that covered a list of foreign policy concerns.
Graham – who has loudly denounced Russian actions since leaks from a CIA report in December indicated that Russians, directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, interfered in the U.S. elections – appeared to be trying to convince President-elect Donald Trump to start believing what he termed “the patriots” who work for U.S. intelligence agencies.
“What bothers me is that President-elect Trump seems to get the Chinese for who they are,” he said on the news show. “The Iranian (nuclear) agreement is bad, he understands that. He understands the threat we face from (the Islamic State). … When it comes to Russia, he seems to have a blind spot. And I’m completely perplexed, because the Russians are undermining democracy throughout the entire world.”
Graham’s comments came after the president-elect Wednesday morning tweeted what appeared to be support for WikiLeaks founder and director Julian Assange, who for years has been seen by Republicans as a villain.
Trump tweeted: “Julian Assange said ‘a 14-year-old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”
U.S. intelligence has insisted Russian hackers did provide Assange with information WikiLeaks released in October that embarrassed Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Graham made a point of saying that while embarrassing, the information did not change the result of the election. Graham said that he and other senators next week would move to ramp up economic sanctions against Russia.
When asked if the president-elect had been duped by the Russians he said “I don’t know.”
Graham said: “In Julian Assange’s world we are the bad guys – not the Russians, not the Iranians, not the North Koreans.”