We should all commend Republican Senator Lindsey Graham for the manner in which he went after Donald Trump at the Russia Hacking hearing. His hawkish stance, however, should concern us all.
Republican Hawk, Senator Lindsey Graham admonishes Donald Trump
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham did not pull any punches as he scolded Donald Trump for dissing the intelligence community. Lindsey Graham used his first question at the Russia hacking hearing to challenge the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
"You are going to be challenged tomorrow by the president-elect," Graham said. "Are you okay with being challenged?"
Clapper replied in the affirmative.
"Do you both welcome it?" Graham asked also referring to Adm. Michael Rogers.
They replied in the affirmative.
"Do you think it is appropriate?" Graham continued.
Again they replied in the affirmative.
"Are you ready for the task?" Graham asked.
"I think so," replied Clapper.
This line of questioning was the build up that Graham would use to advise, read scold, the president into the proper relationship with the intelligence agencies.
Graham asked if there was a difference between espionage and influencing an election. It is evident he wanted to decouple the notion that we spy and as such the Russia hack is no big deal. The idea is to prevent the Trump team from conflating the entire Russian involvement in our election.
Clapper explained that spying is passive while influencing an election is an active attack. Lindsey Graham then got into his warmongering mode. "I am ready to throw a rock," he said.
He attempted to make Clapper agree that Obama would be justified in a much more belligerent response. Clapper did not bite. After a few back and forths, he had some advice for Trump.
"As we go forward and try to deter this behavior," Graham said. "We are going to need your support now and in the future. So I want to let the president-elect know that it is okay to challenge the intel. You are absolutely right to want to do so. But what I don't want you to do is undermine those who are serving the nation in this arena until you are absolutely sure they need to be undermined. And I think they need to be uplifted, not undermined."
After delving into North Korea, Graham continued with his admonition.
"Mr. President-elect," Graham said. "When you listen to these people you can be skeptical. But understand they are the best among us. And they are trying to protect us.