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

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBooker calls for hearings on reports of ICE using solitary confinement GOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales MORE (R-S.C.) on Monday said he defended the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' The Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? Trump pick brings scrutiny to 'revolving door' between Pentagon, industry MORE to President TrumpDonald John Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again 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 Clinton'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Ocasio-Cortez on Biden: 'I think that he's not a pragmatic choice' 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.'"