Lindsey Graham: Russia should face ‘more sanctions, not less’

April 28, 2019 GMT

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said Russia attacked the U.S. electoral process in 2016, is going to try again and should face tougher sanctions, taking a harder public line than President Trump and his son-in-law, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.

“We need more sanctions, not less,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican and key Trump ally, told CBS’s Face the Nation. “Before 2020 because clearly they have not heard the message.”

Mr. Graham went beyond Mr. Kushner, who told a TIME 100 Summit that investigations into the Trump campaign were more disruptive than “a couple of Facebook ads” purchased by Russian meddlers in 2016.

Special counsel Robert Mueller detailed that social media campaign in his 448-page report, though he didn’t find a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“I like Jared a lot, but he’s leaving out a big detail,” Mr. Graham told CBS, pointing to Russian hacks of emails sent by Hillary Clinton’s team and other Democrats in 2016. “Can you imagine what we would be saying if the Russians or the Iranians hacked into the presidential team of the Republican Party?”

“So no, this is a big deal. It’s not just a few Facebook ads,” he said. “They were very successful in pitting one American against the other during the 2016 campaign by manipulating social media, and they actually got into the campaign email system of the Democratic Party.”

Mr. Trump has been reluctant to acknowledge the extent of Russian interference, seemingly fearing it undermines the legitimacy of his win in 2016.

Yet Mr. Graham said the problem is serious, and must be thwarted.

“An attack on one party should be an attack on all,” the senator said.