Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Dec. 7 that he will head two investigations to determine the role that the Russian government played in allegedly interfering the U.S. presidential election.
Graham told CNN reporter Manu Raju that he will look into the Democratic National Committee email hacks, which some U.S. officials say Russian officials coordinated during the election.
According to Raju, Graham said that he would spearhead two separate investigations with the subcommittees he chairs: the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee and the Crime and Terrorism subcommittee. He and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, intend to visit several locations in Eastern Europe to look into reported Russian interference in other elections as well.
Graham, who ran in the Republican primaries but dropped out early in the race, criticized President-elect Donald Trump throughout the election for his soft stance toward Russia among other issues and reportedly cast his vote for conservative independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin. Since Trump's victory, Graham has not eased up.
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"I think Trump should take a real tough tone with Russia, because if he doesn't, you're going to allow Russia to begin to break apart alliances," Graham told Raju.
In November, Graham called for Senate hearings to look into the Kremlin's potential involvement in the election and told fellow Republicans not to let the matter slide simply because "it may have been beneficial" to the GOP, according to the Huffington Post.
"Assuming for a moment that we do believe that the Russian government was controlling outside organizations that hacked into our election, they should be punished," Graham told reporters at the time, according to the Post. "Putin should be punished."
Despite his vocal disagreements with Trump, however, Graham said that he does not intend to obstruct the President-elect just for the sake of it.
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"Clearly me and the Donald have issues, and I will do everything I can to help him because he will be commander in chief in dangerous times," Graham said. "I worry about Russia."