Graham rebuffs Trump over Obama testimony: ‘It would be a bad precedent’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday rebuffed President Trump’s demand that he call former President Obama to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of oversight on the origins of the Russia investigation.

“I think it would be a bad precedent to compel a former president to come before the Congress. That would open up a can of worms, and for a variety of reasons, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill. 

Trump urged GOP lawmakers on Thursday morning to call Obama to testify in front of the Senate panel — the latest incident in recent days where the president has homed in on his predecessor. 

“If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama,” Trump tweeted. “He knew EVERYTHING.”

The president specifically singled out Graham, telling him to “just do it” and to stop playing “Mr. Nice Guy.”

Graham announced after Trump’s tweet that the Judiciary Committee would begin committee hearings in June on “all things related to Crossfire Hurricane,” the name for the investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign.  

Graham told The Hill earlier this week that in addition to starting hearings in June he wants to release a report on his findings by October.

Those hearings are expected to include information and testimony about the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to drop its case against former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, the warrant applications against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and if former special counsel Robert Mueller should have been appointed.

But Graham, in his statement, said that he was “greatly concerned about the precedent” that he would set by trying to call a former president to come testify before a congressional committee.

“As to the Judiciary Committee, both presidents are welcome to come before the committee and share their concerns about each other. If nothing else it would make for great television. However, I have great doubts about whether it would be wise for the country,” he added. 

Tags Barack Obama Carter Page Department of Justice Donald Trump Lindsey Graham Michael Flynn Mueller probe Mueller report Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

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