Graham: Free press and independent judiciary are worth fighting for

Graham: Free press and independent judiciary are worth fighting for
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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Republicans defend McCain amid Trump attacks MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCrenshaw to Trump: 'Stop talking about McCain' Vietnam Veterans of America 'chagrined' Trump won't let McCain 'rest in peace' National Cathedral says Trump didn't need to give 'approval' for McCain funeral MORE (R-Ariz.), on Sunday defended the press and the judiciary — two recent targets of President Trump — as “worth fighting and dying for."

Graham, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” argued that “the backbone of democracy is a free press and independent judiciary.”

He made his comments after McCain told NBC in a weekend interview that suppression of a free press leads to dictatorship.

“That’s how dictators get started,” McCain told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “They get started by suppressing free press, in other words, a consolidation of power.”

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Graham on Sunday said while the bottom line is that America is not becoming a dictatorship, McCain “was right to say that we need as politicians to understand the role of the press and jealously guard it.”

At the same time, Graham warned that media need to treat Trump more fairly.

“I would say this to the American press corps: When it comes to Trump, you’re over the top. You’re acting more like an opposition party. Every president’s had problems with the press. You need to do your job, but from a Republican point of view, I think the coverage against President Trump has been almost to the point of being hysterical.”

Graham took a more critical view of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, however, when he called Trump “a jackass” and said “he shouldn’t be commander in chief.”

Republicans who were deeply skeptical of Trump during the campaign have rallied behind him during his first several weeks in office.

Graham praised Trump Sunday for some of his recent accomplishments, such as renewing progress on the Keystone XL pipeline and rolling back regulations on the coal industry.