Graham offers, withdraws amendment urging Trump address election meddling with Putin

Graham offers, withdraws amendment urging Trump address election meddling with Putin
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Overnight Defense: Trump's Syria envoy wasn't consulted on withdrawal | McConnell offers resolution urging Trump to rethink Syria | Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations Partisan squabbles endanger congressional response to Trump's course on Syria MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday offered and withdrew an amendment to the Pentagon spending bill aimed at President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE’s apparent continued acceptance of Russia’s denials of election meddling.

“I read a tweet today. Guess from who,” Graham said during a Senate Appropriations Committee markup. “I’m all willing for him to meet with Russia, see if we can find common interests, but one thing I want to make crystal clear. ... When Putin says Russia did not interfere in our election, he is lying. When he says they won’t do it in the future, he is lying.”

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Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted that Russia continues to deny it interfered in the 2016 presidential election and repeated his criticisms of former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyCNN's Jeffrey Toobin says he regrets role in playing up Clinton email story Federal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report State cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review MORE and Trump's onetime Democratic opponent, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump 'lynching' firestorm is sign of things to come Hillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report Nielsen on leaving Trump administration: 'Saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough' MORE.

“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” Trump wrote. “Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!”

Trump’s tweet came about an hour after the White House and Kremlin officially announced a summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting is scheduled for July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.

The tweet cast doubt on reassurances from national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump hotel cancels Christian aid group's event to support the Kurds: report Pence on Syria: 'Our troops are coming home' House calls on Russia to release Paul Whelan or else provide evidence of wrongdoing MORE, who both said they were confident Trump would raise the issue of election meddling with Putin

Reading from his amendment Thursday, Graham cited the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and will attempt to interfere in the 2018 midterm and future elections.

“And the resolve clause urges President Trump to bring this matter up with Putin and to tell him that if he continues to do what he’s doing, he will do so at his own peril, and to challenge his denial,” Graham said.

Graham said he withdrew the amendment because it has jurisdiction in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but pledged to bring it back up on the Senate floor if that committee does not act on it.