Alleging that Russia has interfered not only in the US presidential elections but in other countries as well, senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham today said it is now time to “punish” Moscow. “Russia has interfered in every democracy in their backyard. They are coming after the French and the Germans. They have tried to interfere in our election, even though they didn’t change the outcome. They did interfere. They hacked into the Democratic National Committee. Podesta’s e-mails were leaked to WikiLeaks,” Graham told CBS News.
“The Russians were involved to hurt Clinton. The bottom line is, it is now time to punish Russia,” he said in response to a question.
“If we forgive and forget about what Russia did in our own election, we will invite aggression in the next election by Chinese and the Iranians. It was Democrats this time. It could be Republicans next time,” Graham said.
Graham has been joined by Senator John McCain others to pass a bill to sanction Russia for allegedly interfering in the 2016 elections to hit them harder.
“I think it will pass with overwhelming bipartisan support and will be a signal, a pushback to Russia that, if you keep doing this, you are going to pay a heavy price. And I hope the President will embrace this,” he said.
The Republican Senator advocated a free press, but noted that the media is behaving like an “opposition party”.
“The backbone of democracy is a free press and an independent judiciary. And they are worth fighting and dying for. The bottom line here is, America is not becoming a dictatorship,” he said.
“We need to, as politicians, understand the role of the press and jealously guard it. But I would say this to the American press corps. When it comes to Trump, you are over the top. You are acting more like an opposition party. Every President has had problems with the press. You need to do your job,” he said.
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From a Republican point of view, the coverage against President Trump has been almost to the point of being hysterical. “And you all need to do some self-evaluation,” he said.
“But the enemies of democracy, at the end of the day, are not the press. It is Russia. It is Iran and radical Islam. But I think our friends in the press back home need to up their game, because it really is hard to watch from a Republican point of view,” Graham said.