When President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had discussed forming an "impenetrable Cyber Security unit" with Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to strengthen election security, Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C., said it wasn't the "dumbest idea" he's heard, "but it’s pretty close."
Featured on "Meet the Press" on Sunday Graham expressed strong criticism of the president. "When it comes to Russia, he’s got a blind spot," he said. "And to forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyber-attacks is to empower Putin and that’s exactly what he’s doing."
Trump sent out a series of tweets on Sunday morning after returning from the G-20 summit in Germany. The president said he "strongly pressed" Putin about Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election. Trump said it's "time to move forward" after Putin denied any meddling. Graham said he believed Trump's meetings with Putin over the weekend were "disastrous."
Graham said that Trump's handling of Russia will "dog his presidency" unless he changes his ways. "There’s only one person in Washington — that I know of — that has any doubt about what Russia did in our election, and it’s President Trump," Graham told Chuck Todd. The Republican senator added that he agrees with the president's handling of North Korea, as well as both the war in Afghanistan and the fight against the Islamic State.
"But when it comes to Russia, I am dumbfounded, I am disappointed and, at the end of the day, he’s hurting his presidency by not embracing the fact that Putin’s a bad guy who tried to undercut our democracy and he’s doing it all over the world," Graham explained.
Graham wasn't the only Republican senator to criticize the president's suggestion of partnering with Russia in election cyber security efforts. Sen. Marco Rubio R-Fla., blasted Trump over Twitter and compared the president's suggestion to partnering with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "on a Chemical Weapons Unit."