In a Tuesday interview with CNN, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said that most U.S. senators agree that Russia lies behind the numerous hacks of the Democratic Party during the 2016 election season.
When asked how he plans to face Trump’s continual dismissal of CIA allegations that Russia hacked the DNC in order to influence the election, Graham responded:
‘There are 100 United States senators. I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this and we’re going to do something about it.’
Graham followed this answer with a promise to retaliate against Putin for the cyberattacks:
‘We’re going to put sanctions together that hit Putin as an individual and his inner circle for interfering in our election, and they’re doing it all over the world — not just in the United States.
‘Estonia is hit all the time. They’re interfering in elections in democratic countries’ efforts in self determination all over the world, not just in our back yard.’
Graham also urged partisan cooperation in punishing the Russians:
‘If we don’t push back against Putin, Iran and China — they could hack into our systems. Today it’s Democrats, tomorrow it could be Republicans with the Iranians and the Chinese.’
Graham was interviewed during a trip to Estonia with Arizona Sen. John McCain. CNN reported that both Republican senators say that the Washington has reached consensus regarding the hacks, except from President-elect Donald Trump.
Also on the trip to the Baltic nation, currently under threat from Russian interference, was Minnesota Democrat, Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The three will also be visiting Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, and Montenegro to meet with leaders to discuss the Russian threat.
Both McCain and Graham have severely criticized Trump during his campaign, in particular regarding Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump has openly admired.
Sen. McCain stated that he is also concerned about Trump’s pick for State Department, retiring ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Tillerson is also known for a positive stance toward Putin and Russia. McCain also believes Trump will change his mind about a friendlier relationship with Russia and its cyberattack on the U.S. once he is “presented with the overwhelming evidence.”
Graham told CNN’s Jim Sciutto that although he lauded Trump for his hard-line stance against Iran and China, he feels that failing to hit back at Putin would embolden other nations, both parties would be vulnerable.
Watch the video below from CNN to see a segment from the interview.
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