US Senator Lindsey Graham speaks at a press conference at the US Capitol on August 05, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images
US Senator Lindsey Graham on Saturday defended allegations that there would be “riots in the streets” if former President Donald Trump was prosecuted for misusing classified information, and said he condemned the violence used during the Capitol riots was seen last year.
“I was trying to state the obvious,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican and close Trump ally, told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.
“Here’s what I said, The raid continues [former] The home of President Trump, the likely candidate for 2024, better bears fruit here,” he added.
“Our country, the people on our side believe that there are no rules in the justice system regarding Trump. [it’s a case of] ‘Get him any way you get him,’ so I said if it’s like Clinton and he’s prosecuted, it’s going to be one of the most disruptive events in America,” Graham said.
Trump and his allies have argued that the FBI, which is investigating Trump for possible violations of the law related to espionage and obstruction of justice, treats him differently than Hillary Clinton, who is the subject of an FBI investigation into her use of a private email server, but was not prosecuted. Trump’s critics argue that the two cases are not comparable.
Graham said he opposed the violence seen in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, saying “all these people who desecrated the Capitol should go to jail,” but said that any perceived injustice against Trump would have consequences.
“I don’t want to apologize to the January 6 folks because that seems to reinforce the narrative that this is okay. I said something I really believe in – if he does what she did with classified information and he’s prosecuted and she didn’t do it, that would create a problem.”
Graham said last week there would be “riots in the streets” if Trump were prosecuted for misusing classified information.
“I will say this, if there is an indictment against Donald Trump for misappropriating classified information after the Clinton debacle … there will be riots in the streets,” said Graham Trey Gowdy, a former Fox News Republican congressman.
Trump ‘was a consistent president’
Trump is under investigation and at risk of being charged for his handling of classified White House records he brought to his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.
Last week, the release of a heavily redacted affidavit showed how concerns about illegal activity and obstruction of justice led to an FBI raid at Trump’s resort in July.
Graham acknowledged that he believes in “the responsible use of classified information” but reiterated that “mishandling of classified information is really bad, but we can’t have a system where one person is prosecuted and the other isn’t.” .
When asked if Trump is the best person to represent the Republican Party in 2024, Graham said, “I think he might be.”
“Whether you like Trump or not, he’s been a consistent president … I think a strong American president, unpredictable, is a good thing as long as you keep him within bounds. His problem is personal, his policies have stood the test of time, but has he exhausted the American people in terms of his personality? The time will tell. But I’m saying this, if there’s a political debate after the Biden presidency in 2024, I think his chances are good. If it’s a personality contest, he’s going to get in trouble.”
Graham said he talks to Trump “all the time” and the former president still thinks he’s been “cheated.” Graham said he voted to confirm the 2020 election and that Biden is the legitimate president.
Trump “really believes the system has been rigged against him, and I said, ‘Mr. President, I’m not trying to tell you to change your beliefs. I’m trying to tell you that you have no chance of winning in 2020 unless you have a pretty good chance of winning 2024 if you want to,'” Graham said, noting that he told Trump when he made a comeback celebrates, “it will be one of the greatest political comebacks in American history”.
Speech and Debate Clause
A federal judge on Thursday denied Graham’s recent attempt to challenge a subpoena for his testimony before a special Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal interference by Trump and his allies in the 2020 election.
However, the judge limited the scope of the subpoena by ordering that Graham not be questioned about phone calls he made with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his associates in the weeks following the November 2020 election between Trump and President Joe Biden Has.
It follows continued offers by Graham to avoid testifying on the grounds that his position as legislature grants him immunity under the US Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause.
Graham reiterated his position on Saturday, saying: “I did not start this debate. You have a prosecutor who has decided to investigate a national election and to call anyone and everyone connected to the role he played in the election United States Senator, in our Constitution we have a clause of immunity from speech or debates so we can’t be dragged into courts across the country every time we do something that someone doesn’t like.”
“I think the court will recognize that my activities as a United States Senator were covered by the speech and debate clause that the district attorney’s desire to bring me to Georgia exceeds the constitution.”