WASHINGTON, D.C.-Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says former Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain had no idea that his own staff distributed the unverified Steele dossier to the media, but he suggested to McCain that he hand it over to the FBI.
Graham told reporters this Monday when asked about the time he spent with President Donald Trump in Mar-A-Lago this past weekend and if he discussed with Trump his thoughts on the comments Trump made about the late senator, with whom Graham was close friends.
Graham said that he told the president that “Senator McCain deserves better. Trump believes that it was the McCain people who spread this. He’s right.”
“There were some McCain people who took a piece of garbage and tried to go after Trump after the election but I told the president it was not John McCain. I know because John McCain showed me the dossier, and I told him the only thing I know to do with it.” (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To BuzzFeed)
“It could be a bunch of garbage. It could be true. Who knows? Turn it over to somebody whose job it is to find these things out, and John McCain acted appropriately.”
“I want President Trump to be successful. He’s been very good to me in the sense that he’s let me in his world and I have some access to the president about things that matter to me and the country. And I appreciate that. I want him to be successful.”
The Daily Caller asked Graham if he thought McCain had any inkling that anybody in his office was spreading the dossier around. “I had no reason to believe [he knew they] were spreading it around,” Graham responded, “because he came to me with it and he put it in a safe overnight and went to the FBI the next day.”
The Caller had asked McCain in front of one of his staffers on Oct. 18, 2017 if he or anybody on his staff had distributed the Steele dossier and McCain angrily denied it.
“The answer is no. I was the only one that had it… you are questioning my integrity right now. The answer is no. Please don’t ask it again. I gave it to no one except the director or the FBI. And I don’t know why you’re digging this up now.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation later found that longtime McCain associate and former State Department official David Kramer was the source to the media for the dossier.
Graham told the Caller that he does not believe McCain ever confronted his staff over the dossier, saying he does not think the late Arizona senator had “any knowledge” of the distribution to the media by his staff. (RELATED: John Mccain Denies Being Buzzfeed’s Trump Dossier Source)
Nevertheless, Graham still made clear his loyalty not only to McCain, but also to Trump.
“You know, I don’t care whether President Trump likes John McCain or not. I do like President Trump. John McCain was one of my closest friends in life, not just in politics.”
Graham added that Trump responded, “He said, ‘He was really your friend?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, he really was my friend.'”
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