Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. questioned Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump’s pick for FBI Director during a senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Graham at times sounded perturbed, especially when he quizzed Wray about what he would do if he were Donald Trump Jr., referring to Trump Jr.’s recent email situation.
Graham opened his questioning by briefly speaking about allegations that the Ukraine tried to interfere with the 2016 Presidential election in the United States. He then quickly turned to the emails of Trump Jr.
Graham asked if Wray was familiar with Trump Jr.’s email issues to which Wray replied that he was not because he had been meeting with members of the senate regarding the upcoming confirmation hearing.
That didn’t deter Graham who clearly had a point he wanted to make in a public forum about Trump Jr.’s actions.
Graham read aloud the June 3, 2016 email from Rod Goldstone, a publicist who initially contacted Trump Jr. with possible information and documents that could “incriminate Hillary Clinton and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your (Trump Jr.’s father)”. Goldstone’s email indicated that the information was learned after a “crown Russian prosecutor” met with his father earlier. Graham finished by reading Trump Jr.’s interest in obtaining the information.
Graham then asked Wray if Trump Jr. should have taken the meeting. Wray was hesitant to draw a conclusion based upon the fact that he had not read the email or gathered the facts himself, as he had originally indicated to Graham.
It was at this point that Graham took a detour and appeared to be channeling his best impression of the liberal Left who often change the facts, hoping that the American public won’t notice, all in an effort to push their agenda.
Graham asked Wray:
“Well, let me ask you this. If I got a call from somebody saying the Russian government wants to help Lindsey Graham get reelected. They’ve got dirt on Lindsey Graham’s opponent, should I take that meeting?”
What’s wrong with Graham’s question to Wray? Let me explain.
First, Trump Jr. didn’t receive a call “from “somebody” saying the Russian government wants to help.” He received a call from a man he knows from the Miss Universe pageant.
Secondly, the email from Goldstone to Trump Jr. did not say that the “Russian government” wanted to help. It mentioned a “crown prosecutor.”
A crown prosecutor isn’t an actual title in Russia.
So, Graham “stretched” the definition of a crown prosecutor to conclude it was someone in the Russian government.
In fact, it’s not clear if Goldstone was referring to a prosecutor, someone else with a similar name who may have had a government connection or even what title the person really possessed. It could also be that Goldstone made up a title to impress Trump Jr. so that he would take the meeting.
It’s all speculation at this point.
Whatever interpretation is chosen depends upon how badly you want to condemn Trump Jr. and ultimately President Trump’s administration.
Thirdly, it’s important to note that unlike Graham’s hypothetical, Trump Jr. was not a sitting or “elected” politician and neither was his father at the time.
Even if it could be concluded that the Russian government was involved, which has not been proven, they weren’t helping an “elected” U.S. official get “reelected.”
Finally, whether an elected official should take a meeting if it can be shown that the Russian government was actually involved is much different that a private citizen taking a meeting, even if that private citizen is working for a Presidential campaign.
Graham then asks Wray, should I call the FBI under those (Graham’s conjectured) circumstances?
When Wray seemed hesitant to answer Graham’s hypothetical question, Graham said:
“Listen. You’re going to be the Director of the FBI, pal.
So, here’s what I want you to tell every politician. If you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the FBI.”
Wray then answers responsibly by saying “If there is any threat or effort to interfere with our elections…” then the FBI should be called. Seems reasonable enough to conclude that the FBI should be called under Graham’s made up scenario but arguably would not be necessary under Trump Jr.’s case.
Graham obviously thought his scenario matched Trump Jr.’s email scenario but he was incorrect.
In the beginning of Graham’s questioning of Wray, Graham told him, “Your words today will matter. America is listening…”
What Graham didn’t understand at the time was that this applied to Graham as well.
Mr. Graham the American public heard you loud and clear on Wednesday sounding more like a liberal Democrat than ever before, pal.
Good luck with your reelection efforts. Maybe you’ll get a call from Russia offering to help you with that.
However, don’t forget to report it to the FBI.
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