Graham: Carter Page wiretap ‘not at all’ justified

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 12, 2017, during the committee's confirmation hearing for FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“The whole FISA warrant process needs to be looked at,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Sen. Lindsey Graham called government surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page “not at all” justified Sunday, backing up President Donald Trump in his criticism of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court-approved wiretaps.

Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” the South Carolina Republican said, “The whole FISA warrant process needs to be looked at.” He called the Christopher Steele dossier that the FBI cited in its FISA warrant applications “a bunch of garbage,” and criticized the government for not being clear that the dossier’s research had been partially funded by Democrats.

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Page, who worked Trump’s presidential campaign on foreign policy, was under government suspicion for his ties to Russia. Documents released Saturday showed the FBI worried that Russia wanted to recruit him.

Trump has slammed the wiretap approval process, alongside his criticism of the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian electoral meddling and possible Trump campaign collusion.

In multiple direct appeals Sunday to the president, a famous consumer of TV news, Graham urged him to get proactive on preventing Russian attempts at interfering in upcoming U.S. elections — and to impose tougher sanctions on Moscow.

“You didn’t collude with the Russians, or at least I haven’t seen any evidence, but Mr. President, they meddled in the elections,” Graham said to the camera. “They stole [John] Podesta’s emails. They hacked into the DNC. It could be us next. It could be some other power, not just Russia. Harden our electoral infrastructure for 2018. Mr. President, Dan Coats is right. The red lights are blinking.”

“He’s been tougher than [Barack] Obama, but he hasn’t been tough enough,” Graham added.

The hawkish senator also issued a warning that China was pulling North Korea back from its stated moves toward denuclearization.

He said the U.S. should restart military exercises with South Korea and set a deadline for Pyongyang to return the remains of American service members killed in the Korean War.

“Mr. President, North Korea’s playing the same old game with you they’ve played with every other president. … You need to make sure that China and North Korea know and [believe] that you’re different than everybody else,” Graham said.

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