Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has charged that President Donald Trump has a “blind spot on Russia,” calling on the White House to “go after” Moscow over its alleged interference in the US election.
“I think that the Trump administration is slow when it comes to Russia. They have a blind spot on Russia I still can’t figure out, but I can tell you what happened in ‘16,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Russia is going to get worse, if not better,” he said. “Mr. President, go after Russia because they’re coming after us.”
The South Carolina senator said Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election, but he did not believe it changed the outcome.
Graham, a foreign policy hawk, said the Russian influence raised many questions that the Trump administration must answer.
“What are the rules of engagement? Did what they do in 2016 amount to an act of war? How do we respond to cyber attacks?” he asked.
The senator said if the Russians are not confronted, “they are coming back against us” in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Earlier this year, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill that placed restrictions on Trump unilaterally removing sanctions on Russia. Trump signed that bill into law.
However, the president missed an October 1 deadline to introduce new sanctions, as required by that law, drawing criticism from some on Capitol Hill who want a harder line on Russia.
During the campaign and since taking office, Trump has sought a better relationship with Russia and has openly doubted the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election to boost his chances.
Moscow has also rejected the accusations.
Several congressional investigations and an independent probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller are examining the Russian interference and allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians.
On Friday, Trump once again dismissed any collusion between his aides and Moscow, and said he has not been asked to be interviewed by Mueller. “I don’t know. Nobody’s asked me to do that,” he told Fox Business Network.
“There has — there is no collusion, I can tell you that. Everybody’s seen that. You know, you have Senate meetings, you have Senate hearings and nobody has asked us to do interviews anywhere. They have found no collusion.”