Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham took part in a town hall hosted by CNN Wednesday night and gave Democrats plenty of fodder to keep bashing President Donald Trump over contact between his campaign and Russia.
The Republican lawmakers spoke approvingly of Trump’s address to Congress, with McCain saying the president “laid out a positive agenda” that was “well-received by the American people.” Graham added, “We need more of that guy — less of the tweeting guy.”
But that didn’t last long, and when it came to Russia, the two war hawks were not so generous.
Amid reports Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak on two occasions last year, Graham said if the FBI finds wrongdoing, Sessions should recuse himself from deciding whether to prosecute.
A claim conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, an avid Trump supporter, called “bogus.”
Timing of this bogus story abt Sessions: meant to blunt national optimism surge following @realDonaldTrump #JointSession speech.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 2, 2017
“If there were contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, they may be legitimate; they may be OK,” Graham said. “I want to know what happened between the Trump campaign, the Clinton campaign and the Russians.”
House Dems wear white in protest of Trump to joint address, turns out to be a VERY bad decision
Graham: If Jeff Sessions spoke with Russian diplomat, “then for sure you need a special prosecutor” #CNNTownHall https://t.co/uY26ChouyB
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 2, 2017
Graham criticized Trump over his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“When it comes to Russia, he has a blind spot,” he said. “The bottom line is that Putin is disrupting democracy everywhere.”
McCain reinforced the threat to democracy Graham spoke of.
“Have no doubt, what the Russians tried to do to our election could have destroyed democracy,” McCain said. “And that’s why we’ve got to pay a hell of a lot more attention to the Russians and the things they’re doing in Europe — and right now, they’re trying to determine the outcome of the French election, and they’re using cyber.”
Graham was clear that he not only supports the sanctions imposed on Russia by former President Barack Obama, he’d like to see more.
“I want the Russians to be sanctioned more for interfering in our election,” he said.
Lindsey Graham: "I want the Russians to be sanctioned more for interfering in our election" #CNNTownHall https://t.co/Bv6qplw7JE
— CNN (@CNN) March 2, 2017
A one point, the town hall became somewhat of a love-fest when Graham starting talking about his friendship with McCain, bring a tear to the eye of both men.
“He is loyal to his friends. He loves his country. And if he has to stand up to his party for his country, so be it,” Graham said of his colleague. “He would die for his country. I love him to death.”
Graham on McCain: “He would die for this country. I love him to death” #CNNTownHall https://t.co/71O4wZ3v7z https://t.co/pkBYH9z4eJ
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 2, 2017
While liberals and ‘Never Trumpers’ praised the pair, if the town hall generated any tears on social media, they were likely tears of frustration at the Republican senators for playing right into the hands of the president’s adversaries.
A few tweets was all it took for Mary Katharine Ham to put lib haters who bashed SEAL’s wife to shame
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
Graham and McCain want answers about #Sessions. That means, the Democrats are in on it. Had to take focus off Trumps AMAZING speech..get it?
— Kambree (@KamVTV) March 2, 2017
McCain Graham need to just admit theyre DemoRats! Sessions is not involved in Russia! #CNNTownHall still focused on dividing US
— DeplorableAnnie (@Anncostanza1) March 2, 2017
. @CNNPolitics Al Franken had the same talking points
as @SenJohnMcCain & @LindseyGrahamSC #CNNTownhall #Collusion with Democrats pic.twitter.com/MtpwYWsOC5
— Trumppin (@TrumpUntamed) March 2, 2017
@CNNPolitics @CNN these two jerkoffs might want to check out the question Sessions was asked. “About the election” pic.twitter.com/oGz7kf6FOJ
— Eddie (@eddiecarl4468) March 2, 2017
— MattRX ? ?? (@MRodrigoX) March 2, 2017
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