Lindsey Graham boosts Donald Trump by denouncing "attempted bureaucratic coup" against the president

Lindsey Graham told "Face the Nation" that he is appalled by "attempted bureaucratic coup" against Donald Trump

By Matthew Rozsa
Published February 17, 2019 3:45PM (EST)
Lindsey Graham (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Lindsey Graham (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe was guilty of an "attempted bureaucratic coup" against President Donald Trump because he discussed whether the 25th Amendment should be invoked against the current White House occupant.

"I think everybody in the country needs to know if it happened," Graham told anchor Margaret Brennan. "It's stunning to me that one of the chief law enforcement officers of the land- the acting head of the FBI- would go on national television and say, 'Oh by the way I remember a conversation with the deputy attorney general about trying to find if we could replace the president under the 25th Amendment.' We're a democracy. People enforce the law — can't take it into their own hands. And was this an attempted bureaucratic coup? I don't know. I don't know who's telling the truth. I know [former Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein vehemently denied it but we're going to get to the bottom of it."

Graham added, "I do know there was a lot of monkey business about FISA warrants being issued against Carter Page, about dossiers coming from Russia that were unverified. Mr. Mueller is going to look at the Trump campaign as he should to see if they violated any laws during the 2016 election. And I'm going to do everything I can to get to the bottom of the Department of Justice FBI behavior toward President Trump and his campaign."

When Brennan asked if Graham was concerned about harming the FBI's credibility with his accusations, the South Carolina Republican insisted that he was only strengthening the bureau.

"The FBI has gotten off track in the past," Graham told Brennan. "It's one of the greatest organizations in the world. The Hoover years have proven to be pretty dark periods for the FBI. The latter part of the Hoover days where politicians were being blackmailed. There is no organization beyond scrutiny. There is no organization that can't withstand scrutiny. And the FBI will come out stronger."

Graham's comments were inspired by an interview between McCabe and Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" which is expected to air in full on Sunday night. According to McCabe, there were "meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment."

He added, "These were the eight days from Comey's firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, and the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what do with the president."

President Donald Trump went on a tweet storm attacking McCabe after the former acting director's comments became known.

"Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a “poor little Angel” when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax - a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey. I.G. report on McCabe was devastating. Part of “insurance policy” in case I won...." Trump tweeted on Thursday.

He added, "....Many of the top FBI brass were fired, forced to leave, or left. McCabe’s wife received BIG DOLLARS from Clinton people for her campaign - he gave Hillary a pass. McCabe is a disgrace to the FBI and a disgrace to our Country. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Later that day, Trump cited Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz to continue his attacks on McCabe.

"'Trying to use the 25th Amendment to try and circumvent the Election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing...which happens in third world countries. You have to obey the law. This is an attack on our system & Constitution.' Alan Dershowitz. @TuckerCarlson" Trump tweeted.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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