Russia Meddling in 2018 Midterms, U.S. 'Unreliable Ally' in Mideast Under Donald Trump, Says Lindsey Graham

Senator Lindsey Graham said he's concerned President Donald Trump is too soft on Russia and warned they infiltrated the 2016 U.S. election and are doing it again during the 2018 midterms.

Speaking with NBC News' Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Sunday morning, the South Carolina Republican said the U.S. has become an "unreliable ally" in the Middle East. Graham said he is glad the two are meeting but expressed fears that Trump won't truly confront Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria and ISIS during their upcoming July 16 summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland. Graham said he was troubled by Trump's claim Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections despite intelligence agencies saying the "highest levels" of the Russian government approved activities that led up to Trump's victory.

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 12 Senator Lindsey Graham said everything he blasted Obama for doing wrong in the Middle East Trump may do be doing even worse. Screenshot: Meet The Press Twitter

"It's not Obama's fault that Crimea was taken by Russia, it's Russia's fault," Graham told Chuck Todd. "It's up to President Trump that we don't give Russia Iran and Syria. I'm in Turkey today, this is a strategic ally, we've got many problems, but people in this region view us as an unreliable ally. We've allowed ISIS to rise by leaving Iraq."

Graham continued: "I'm concerned when the president tweets that Russia denies they meddled in our elections. When they say they didn't meddle, they're lying...the idea that Russia did not meddle in our election is fake news. They did meddle in our election and they're doing it again in 2018.”

Last week, Trump tweeted: "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election! Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!"

Graham warned President Trump that if the U.S. exits Syria, Islamic State militants will come back, and Iran will take control of Damascus. Todd noted Graham's concerns in 2015 that President Obama would be too soft when he confronted Putin, but Graham said he worries the exact same thing about Trump. “Everything you said about Obama and Iraq, you're going to do in Syria. Please don't do that," Graham said of Trump on NBC Sunday morning.

Responding to reports North Korea is already breaking several terms of denuclearization agreed upon with Trump, Graham said he is also worried about Trump being too soft with dictator Kim Jong Un. “I don’t want war with North Korea. It would be devastating," Graham said.

Graham, who served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, briefly touched on the recent retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and whether a conservative Trump appointee will reverse decades of abortion rulings. “Roe v. Wade, in many different ways, has been affirmed over the years…but I would hope the justice that sits on the Court, all of them, would listen to the arguments on both sides” Graham said.

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