CNN anchors challenge Dem on claim that Graham 'is somehow compromised'

CNN anchors Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto pushed back Thursday on Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarJohn Oliver torches Meghan McCain over Seth Meyers dust-up 'SNL' mocks Jeanine Pirro's support of Trump: 'He is the Michael Jordan of presidents' Omar introduces bill sanctioning Brunei over anti-homosexuality law MORE's (D-Minn.) suggestion that Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Press: Justin Amash breaks ranks with party Overnight Defense: Iran tensions swirl as officials prepare to brief Congress | Trump threatens war would be 'end of Iran' | Graham tells Trump to 'stand firm' | Budget talks begin MORE (R-S.C.) is "somehow compromised" because of his support for President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE.

Omar faced questions during a CNN appearance about a tweet from earlier this week in which she responded to a video clip of Graham calling Trump a "race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot" during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"They got to him, he is compromised!" Omar wrote in the tweet, a remark that drew backlash from some who accused her of making baseless insinuations about the GOP senator.


Asked for an explanation of her tweet Thursday, Omar argued that based on Graham's shift in tone on Trump, she's "pretty sure there is something happening with him."

She suggested it may be related to his "funding," his polling or "leadership within the Senate."

"He is somehow compromised to no longer stand up for the truth and to make sure he is fighting to protect the oath he took in serving the American people," she said on CNN.

"That’s quite a charge to make," Sciutto responded. "You say you’re pretty sure, based on what evidence?”

Omar cited "the way [Graham] is behaving."

"That’s not evidence, that’s your opinion,” Harlow said. "Based on what evidence, congresswoman?” 

Omar responded that her tweet was "just an opinion based on what I believe to be visible to me."

Graham, a former representative who has represented South Carolina in the Senate since 2003, was openly critical of Trump during the 2016 campaign after he dropped out of the race himself. He has since warmed to Trump, talking with the president regularly and defending many of his policies and rhetoric.

Asked in late 2017 about his shift in attitude, Graham said Americans "rejected my analysis, and he is now my president."

“The bottom line: He is president of the United States,” Graham said. “I’ve gotten to know him better. He asks a lot of good questions.”

The senator has continued to disagree with Trump at times, including most recently regarding the president's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.