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Graham: Trump ‘has a hard time pushing back against Putin'

Graham: Trump ‘has a hard time pushing back against Putin'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Five things to know about 'MBS,' Saudi Arabia's crown prince MORE (R-S.C.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE has a hard time pushing back against Russian President Vladimir Putin "directly" and needs to take a harder stance against Russia.

“The problem is that Russia is running wild, whatever we are doing is not working and the president for some reason has a hard time pushing back against Putin,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.

For Graham, the current state of U.S.-Russia relations — especially after the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K. attributed to Russia — resembles the relationship the two countries had during the Cold War.

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“This is the '80s to me all over. I can tell you what Ronald Reagan did. Every time the Russians tried to advance their military technology, we one-upped them. Every time the Russians started running wild throughout the world, Reagan pushed back,” Graham said. “If I were Trump, I’d look at the Reagan playbook and economically isolate Russia.”

To hit Russia effectively, Graham said, Trump needs to go after Russia’s oil and gas industry which is Russia’s main economic sector.

“I would study every recipient of Russian oil and gas and see if we could find ways to supply those countries with oil and gas from a source outside of Russia,” Graham said.

Russia recently expelled 60 American diplomats from Russia in retaliation for the U.S. expelling 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. in solidarity with the U.K. government declaring Russia guilty of the poisoning of the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, at the beginning of March.