Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke with Brian Kilmeade about President Trump siding with Kim Jong-Un over former Vice President Joe Biden while overseas, why he supports President Trump allowing Attorney General Bill Barr to declassifying documents on the Russian investigation and defending himself against accusations on MSNBC claiming he sold out his friendship with Senator McCain by supporting President Trump.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX RADIO HOST: Senator Lindsey Graham, welcome back.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, SOUTH CAROLINA (R): Hey, thanks Brian.
KILMEADE: Hey, great to hear from you. I’ve been watching you all around. You of course made an impact with Chris Wallace on Sunday.
But I’m just going to ask you, were you disappointed the president took that question in Japan and agreed with Kim Jong-un about the I.Q. of Joe Biden?
SEN. GRAHAM: Yes, I don’t think it is very helpful to agree with Kim Jong-un when he makes political observations inside of America, but the visit was very successful and the Japanese really admire President Trump for being strong.
It’s probably the strongest relationship we have anywhere in the world with Japan because they’re a threat by China, they’re a threat by North Korea and I think it’s overall a very successful visit.
KILMEADE: I think they went out of their way almost like China when the president first took over; they went out of their way to try to–
SEN. GRAHAM: Yes.
KILMEADE: — win him over. Do you believe that the president’s position which is closer to South Korea on those missile launches by North Korea unlike he was on Japan. Do you think that’s in our best interest? Indeed this is a tactic. The president says I’m not that concerned about it.
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, so firing the missiles to me was a step backward. Trump believes he’s just trying to get attention, Kim Jong-un. We’ll soon find out if Trump is right to have this much confidence and Kim Jong-un wanting a deal. I will support the president‘s ability to give North Korea space.
The goal is verifiable, irreversible, denuclearization at the Korean peninsula. I’ll give the president the space he needs to get there. But what I fear is that they’re trying to wait Trump out in North Korea.
KILMEADE: And do you believe that — oh, in North Korea they’re trying to wait Trump out.
SEN. GRAHAM: Yes.
KILMEADE: Don’t you think North Korea must feel like for the first time they actually can have a dialogue with the United Sates?
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I think Trump’s done a good thing by getting North Korea to the table. He’s got a personal relationship with Kim. It’s a country of one person.
He’s trying to convince Kim that you’re better off without nuclear weapons because if you (inaudible) nuclear weapons, we’ll end the Korean War, we’ll do a peace treaty, we’ll have a security agreement, we’ll help you economically.
If you keep your nuclear weapons and you keep threatening America, you’ll be isolated. So the president has kept the pressure on by keeping the sanctions in place. These missile tests are provocative. But I’m more worried about the outcome.
So, my fear is that the North Koreans are just going to talk and never actually enter in to a deal trying to wait Trump out.
KILMEADE: Very interesting. We’re talking with Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator, it looks like the whole president’s push to declassify, something you’ve been calling for, so has many others. It might be something that John Brennan feels. Tell me if you can read between the lines with this statement.
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Well, I see it as a very, very serious and outrageous move on the part of Mr. Trump, once again, trampling upon the statutory authorities of the director of National Intelligence and the heads of the independent intelligence agencies.
I am deeply, deeply concerned about what it is going on right now and how Mr. Trump is authorizing what appears to be his personal attorney to pursue these efforts inside of the intelligence community agencies and to uncover and to potentially release this information that could in fact put people’s lives in great jeopardy.
[00:10:12] KILMEADE: So, he does not trust William Barr who knows — who used to work at the CAA to not declassify something that needs to be classified.
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, it’s almost like arson, arsonists complain about the fire they started. What Brennan’s worried about is having his own personal conduct exposed.
Brennan and Clapper and Comey and this whole crowd, McCabe included in my view, there’s ample evidence that they defrauded the FISA court, the FBI and DOJ. There’s ample evidence that they knew early on that Papadopoulos was not working with the Russians.
I want to know what Brennan knew about the counterintelligence operation. Here’s what I can tell you for sure. The mainstream media would be going nuts if the show were on the other foot.
If the Republican Party had hired Christopher Steele to look at Clinton, if the DOJ under a republican president and FBI got a warrant based on a bunch of garbage against an operative of the Clinton campaign, there would be riots in the street of the media.
So the bottom-line here is that the president is right to share with the public what happened. I supported Mueller to be bale to do his job without political interference. He had two years, $25 million, 19 FBI agents — excuse me, Mueller used 40 FBI agents and we got the report to read.
We’re not going to look at how this started, was it illegal from the beginning, did they take the law in their own hands? And that’s what Brennan is worried about himself, not the country.
KILMEADE: So, you believe that somehow the CIA was involved possibly with Papadopoulos and Carter Page–
SEN. GRAHAM: I am.
KILMEADE: — and stuff and how–
SEN. GRAHAM: Very much. I want to know who decided to put the Steele deceit and the intelligence assessment that was given to President Trump. Comey says it was Brennan’s idea. Brennan says no it was Comey’s idea. This deceit is unverified to this day. It’s a bunch of garbage.
It should’ve never been used to get a warrant against an American citizen. And for it to be put in the intelligence assessment gave it credibility that I think was unwarranted. I want to know, what did Brennan know about the Trump surveillance. When did he know it?
Was Brennan aware of Steele being an unreliable informant for the American government? Did Obama know? Did Obama that the Trump campaign was being surveilled? Did they report up to the chain that Papadopoulos had no contact with the Russians when it was pretty obvious they knew that?
KILMEADE: Early on, do you worry — do you worry about exposing ways and practices and methods?
SEN. GRAHAM: Not at all. The FISA application should be released. We should be able to look at what information they gave the public. I want to find out what percentage of the deceit has been verified to this day, their transcripts where they recorded Papadopoulos with this undercover agent.
I want those transcripts to be released. You’re not compromising courses and methods. It’s all over the news that there was a confidential informant working Papadopoulos. I want to see what the tapes say. I want all the information about Christopher Steele out in to the public.
I want Bruce Ohr’s 302 interviews with Steele made public. That doesn’t compromise anything. And I want the information where Ohr told McCabe and others you can’t rely on Steele out in the public.
KILMEADE: All right, I want you to hear what James Baker said. This is him attempting to explain everything you just asked.
JAMES BAKER, FORMER W.H. CHIEF OF STAFF: This incident, the Papadopoulos information is what triggered us going down this path.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
[00:10:16] BAKER: Again, it’s against the backdrop of a dump of e-mails over the summer that were attributed by various entities to the Russians one way or another. And then — and other things going on that summer, and this thing then lands in the middle of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
BAKER: That’s what then focuses us and triggers this curse of investigation.
KILMEADE: And that thing lands because they say Downer casually walks in to Papadopoulos in a bar, and Papadopoulos after being drunk which we now know is not true and even Downer says it, started saying the Russians have Hilary’s e-mails. And look for something to happen.
They drop in July, he picks up the phone and he calls up the intelligence, the FBI and says guys I got tipped off by this Papadopoulos guy. Then they set up the professor to go up to him and try to get this story out undercover. So do you feel better about it?
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, let me tell you, here’s the central question. Was there any evidence to suggest that Papadopoulos was working with the Russians on behalf of the Trump campaign? What role did Papadopoulos have with the Trump campaign? The president met him once for five minutes.
The bottom-line is I want all the information out and I think you will find early on that it was clear that Papadopoulos was now working with the Russians. That anything he knew about the e-mails came from a confidential informant who planted it in his mind.
So, there are some statements I believe by Papadopoulos that were reported to show that he had zero to do with the Russians. And would suggest that — when it was suggested that he was working with the Russians, he said well that’d be treason.
So, I want all of that out. I want all of the Christopher Steele statements about people who knew he was in the tank against Trump.
I want the whole exchange between the Department of State and the FBI ten days before the FISA warrant was issued where the State Department officials says that Steele wanted us to release the deceit to the public, that he’s out to get Trump. They knew that about Steele ten days before they got the warrant.
KILMEADE: All right. Now, next — Senator, appreciate this time because everyone’s getting back to work today. While I’m busy on Fox and Friends, Joe Scarborough is going after you.
He said — Joe Scarborough said that in star comparison to your best friend John McCain, he never waivered his criticism of Trump up until he passed away in August.
That he said that he knew that Graham had a flagging approval ratings in his state now has one of the better approval ratings with the ranking file because basically you support Trump and you’ve been one of his best defenders.
Here’s a quote, “he basically sold his soul, political soul, sold his political soul for 20 percentage points inside his own republican party. What’s your response?
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I remember the 2008 campaign very (inaudible). I remember how poorly he was treated, how he was written off as a war monger, a demented old man. I remember when John McCain said we need to stand up to Assad in Syria.
We need to have a no fly zone to protect the Syrian people, how we was treated particularly on that network. All I can say is that I want President Trump to be successful. He beat me. I’ve tried everything I can to help him where it makes sense. I pushback when I think he’s wrong. I like him.
John McCain was my dearest friend in the senate, one of my dearest friends in the world. And the one thing I’ve learned from Senator McCain is that you always put the country ahead of anything else. I’m the senator from South Carolina; people want me to help this president.
And we have disagreements and when we do I try to work through them. So, cable chatter is just cable chatter. And nothing’s going to change my relationship with Senator McCain. He was a big influence on my life, taught me a lot bout foreign policy.
[00:10:20] And I think President Trump is doing a very, very good job. And I’m certain he’s going to get reelected, I really believe that.
KILMEADE: All right, and senator by the way, I actually — everything that you stand for, you want him to get aggressive in Venezuela, you’re more — you’re stronger on North Korea now than the president is, used to be somewhat reversed. You’re happy he is taking — that you’re taking action against China.
You’re not happy he made the comments about Joe Biden. You’re doing play by play. You’re not going out of your way to rip them, but I think you’re being totally consistent with who you are. There’s not one thing that you’re saying that you don’t believe. You’re encouraged by President Trump’s aggressive approach to our chronic problems.
SEN. GRAHAM: Yes. The one thing I’m not going to worry about is pleasing Joe Scarborough, that’s not on my list. What I am worried about is making sure that we have the right foreign policy during dangerous times. President Trump has rebuilt the military brine in a way like Ronald Reagan did. He destroyed ISIS, very pleased.
He adjusted his policies on Syria, he actually changed his brine which is a — I think a sign of strength. He’s engaged North Korea differently. I hope it works; I want to give him the space. He pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. He’s moved in military assets incase Iran threatens our troops, and Iraq.
He says Maduro must go, which was right. I just want him to speed up Maduro leaving. I want him to take Cuba on more directly. I like this president’s domestic policies, he cut our taxes. He regulated the country. He’s took great conservative judges.
I make no apologizes to anybody with wanting to work with President Trump. And when I find that there’s a difference, I’m going to speak. I had a real difference with Syria and to the president’s credit he adjusted his policies.
I worry about where North Korea is headed. But we’ll give the president the space he needs to see if we can get this thing over on our terms.
KILMEADE: Yes. So, I just wanted you to have a shot at defending yourself because they do not give you a chance to do that.
SEN. GRAHAM: Against who? I don’t feel like I need to defend myself against a cable talk show host on MSNBC. I’m a United States senator representing the people of South Carolina who overwhelming support President Trump. John McCain was my dearest friend in the world.
John McCain always stood up for what he wanted America to be. He tried to work with Obama when he could. When Obama went weak on Assad, McCain was all over him. When Obama pulled out of Iraq, he pushed back hard.
And President Trump has put troops back in to Iraq, he’s destroyed ISIS. He’s standing up to the Taliban. I just generally speaking like President Trump’s domestic and foreign policy. I want him to be successful. I’m going to get reelected. And–
SEN. GRAHAM: — if the show were on the other foot, if this had been a republican group hiring Christopher Steele to look at the democrats–
SEN. GRAHAM: — the media would be going crazy.
KILMEADE: Got you.
SEN. GRAHAM: I could care less about their double standard, it doesn’t bother me anymore. But–
KILMEADE: Got you.
SEN. GRAHAM: — just press on and make America great again.
KILMEADE: Senator Lindsey Graham, thanks so much.
SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you.