Graham talked Trump in call with Russian pranksters

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Report on alleged surveillance abuse in 2016 to be released Dec. 9 McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (R-S.C.) spoke in an August call about Trump with a man he thought was Turkey's minister of defense but was actually Russian pranksters.

Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, Russian pranksters alleged to be connected with Russian intelligence, called Graham, who said he wanted to make relations between Turkey and the U.S. a "win-win," Politico reported.


Graham seemingly contradicted recent statements he made this week about the Kurds, calling them a "threat" in the call and sympathizing with the "defense minister" about their "Kurdish problem." 

“I told President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE that Obama made a huge mistake in relying on the YPG Kurds,” Politico reported Graham said in the call. “Everything I worried about has come true, and now we have to make sure Turkey is protected from this threat in Syria. I’m sympathetic to the YPG problem, and so is the president, quite frankly.”

Graham has vocally opposed Trump's decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria, saying this week we needed to "pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration."

The pranksters, known as "Lexus and Vovan," called Graham back days later, and the senator told them he passed along what the "minister" had said to the president, according to Politico.

“We want a better relationship with Turkey," Politico reported Graham said. "That’s exactly what he wants."

He added that he thought the president liked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and would try to help Erdoğan "within the limits of his power."

Graham's spokesman Kevin Bishop tweeted about Politico's story.

“We have been successful in stopping many efforts to prank Senator Graham and the office, but this one slipped through the cracks,” Bishop said in a statement. “They got him.”

The pranksters have previously caught other Western politicians on calls, including Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffNunes's facial expression right before lawmakers took break from Sondland testimony goes viral Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Maloney wins House Oversight gavel MORE (D-Calif.), Politico reported.