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Graham tweets support for Navalny: 'The Russian people will reach a tipping point where they tire of Putin'

Graham tweets support for Navalny: 'The Russian people will reach a tipping point where they tire of Putin'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden Let's give thanks to Republican defenders of democracy MORE (R-S.C.), a prominent foreign policy hawk and Russia critic, tweeted support for a Russian opposition figure who is believed to have been poisoned by government agents. 

Graham took to Twitter to voice support for Alexei Navalny, considered the unofficial leader of the Russian opposition and a top critic of President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinScarborough says he'll never return to Republican Party after GOP supported Trump Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? Russian vessel threatens to ram US warship in disputed waters in Sea of Japan MORE, after his apparent poisoning, saying the situation was “very sad.” 

“It goes without saying that you oppose Putin at your own peril and people like Mr. Navalny are on the right side of history. As always, the price for standing up for freedom comes at a heavy cost,” Graham tweeted, adding that opposition figures in Russia “have my admiration and total support.”

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Graham predicted that Putin’s efforts to silence opposition voices in the country will come back to haunt him, warning, “The old adage 'Live by the sword, die by the sword’ will eventually come into play for Putin.”

“The Russian people will reach a tipping point where they tire of Putin and his cronies plundering the nation and sowing discord throughout the world -- all at the expense of the average Russian,” he said. 

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Graham is just the latest lawmaker to express support for Navalny after he fell ill in Siberia. While the exact circumstances are not clear, he is reportedly in a coma after drinking tea laced with poison, a tool used in the past by Putin’s government against vocal critics. It is the second time Navalny is believed to have been poisoned, though the first incident was officially ruled as an allergic reaction.

Bipartisan members of Congress panned Putin over the apparent attack. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBiden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls The Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday MORE (R-Fla.), the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the suspected poisoning was “at least the 31st assassination attempt against a Putin opponent/defector,” and Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyRepublicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Biden decides on pick for secretary of State MORE (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the incident “awful news.”

Navalny’s apparent poisoning adds a new wrinkle to the relationship between Washington and Moscow, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE has actively tried to improve. He told Axios last month that he did not discuss reports that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan in a phone call with Putin, has expressed openness to bringing Russia back into the Group of Seven and is reportedly seeking a meeting with Putin before of the November election to discuss a nuclear arms control agreement.

The government also recently put out a report saying Russia was looking to interfere in the 2020 election to help boost Trump, though the White House has downplayed those efforts. 

Trump closed the Russian Consulate in Seattle and expelled 48 Russian diplomats in the U.S. and 12 Russian intelligence officials based at the United Nations after the 2018 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018 in the United Kingdom, though Navalny’s poisoning may be harder to punish given that it happened in Russia.