Graham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamIf you don't think illegal immigrants are voting for president, think again Graham challenges Dems to walk the walk on impeachment Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars MORE (R-S.C.) on Monday said he defended the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainIf you don't think illegal immigrants are voting for president, think again 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era Earth Day founder's daughter: Most Republican leaders believe in climate change in private MORE to President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE, who accused the Arizona Republican of turning over controversial opposition research for "evil purposes."

Graham, asked about his conversations over the weekend with Trump, said he told the president that McCain "deserves better" and "appropriately" handled the so-called Steele dossier compiled against then-candidate Trump.
 
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"Trump believes that it was the McCain people that spread this. He's right. There were some McCain people that took a piece of garbage and tried to go after Trump after the election. But I told the president it was not John McCain," Graham recounted to reporters.
 
Graham added that McCain showed him the dossier and that he recommended McCain "turn it over to somebody whose job it is to find these things out."
 
"John McCain acted appropriately," Graham added.
 
Trump renewed his attacks against McCain earlier this month, lashing out at him for his vote against a GOP ObamaCare repeal bill and his decision to turn the Steele dossier over to the FBI.
 
Trump, during an interview with Fox Business, said the senator gave the dossier to the FBI for "very evil purposes."
 
“If you realize, about three days ago, it came out that his main person gave to the FBI the fake news dossier,” Trump said on Friday. “It was a fake, it was a fraud, it was paid for by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rips Krugman, NYT after columnist writes GOP no longer believes in American values Klobuchar jokes to Cuomo: 'I feel you creeping over my shoulder' but 'not in a Trumpian manner' Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE and the Democrats. They gave it to John McCain who gave it to the FBI for very evil purposes. That’s not good.”
 
Graham countered that he urged McCain to hand the research document to the FBI.
 
"John McCain did not give it to anybody in the press," Graham said. "He turned it over to the FBI, and that's exactly what he should have done. That's what you should do."
 
Graham, who was considered one of McCain's best friends, has been a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill. Though he's pushed back against the president's public criticism of McCain, he has also stressed that he wants to work with Trump.
 
"I like President Trump. John McCain is one of my closest friends in life, not just in politics. 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," Graham said.
 
Asked how Trump responded, Graham said that "he said, 'He was really your friend?' I said, 'Yeah, he really was my friend.'"