Lindsey Graham seemed like a lost cause. Even after Donald Trump’s recent multi-day tirade against late Arizona Senator John McCain, his former best friend in Congress said nothing. The transformation from relative moderate to hardcore Trump supporter seemed complete.
But when Senator Graham got wind that Trump was accusing McCain of “fanning the flames” of the Russia investigation by being the one responsible for handing over the infamous Steele Dossier to the FBI, that appeared to get his dander up. Whether it’s Graham being pragmatic and not wanting the President to go too far in his search for revenge after erroneously interpreting AG Barr’s summary of the Mueller report as an “exoneration,” or simply Lindsey remembering what it is to be loyal to an old friend, he finally spoke out against Trump, telling reporters that not only did McCain do the right thing with the Dossier, but that he encouraged McCain to do it:
I told the President it was not John McCain. I know because John McCain showed me the dossier. And I told him the only thing I knew to do with it, it could be a bunch of garbage, it could be true, who knows? Turn it over to somebody who’s job it is to find these things out and John McCain acted appropriately.”
The timeline of the Steele Dossier becoming public was somewhat of a mystery until McCain’s involvement became public — and by passing it on to intelligence officials and law enforcement as the handlers of the Dossier requested, McCain perhaps inadvertently lent an aura of authority to what was at the time a mostly-unverified file.
The contents of the Dossier have now, of course, been almost entirely vetted and proven, with the notable exception of a certain purported video of the President (a private citizen at the time) engaged in unorthodox sexual behavior with Russian prostitutes at a hotel in Moscow.
Graham pressed on with reporters regarding his friend, telling them that McCain had placed the file in a safe upon receipt, and turned it over as soon as possible:
I understand that, clearly people are in the McCain world that did some things inappropriate but it was not John McCain. John McCain did not give it to anybody in the press, he talked to me just as soon as he got it, and he turned it over to the FBI and that’s exactly what he should have done.”
What impact Graham’s statement will have on the friendly relationship he’s recently cultivated with Trump remains to be seen. But the President certainly doesn’t like to be second-guessed and considers allowing someone to remain in his good graces to be a magnanimous act.
That could spell disaster for Graham, whose reelection push is already well underway in Trump-loving South Carolina.
Featured image is a screen capture.