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Trump told golfing buddy Lindsey Graham about Iran attack — but not Congress

Graham said he was grateful for ‘being brought into the orbit.’

By Oliver Willis - January 03, 2020
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Donald Trump briefed his golfing buddy and political ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about plans to kill Iranian general Qassem Soleimani but did not brief Congress.

Graham discussed his access to information during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.

“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida, I appreciate being brought into the orbit,” said Graham, who played a round of golf with Trump on Tuesday.

Graham also remarked that “I really appreciate President Trump letting the world know you cannot kill an American without impunity,” adding, “We will stand up for our people and that is absolutely an essential message.”

That description is at odds with Trump’s actions after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After it became clear that the Saudi Arabian regime had killed the reporter, Trump chose not to act or condemn the assault.

While Trump gave Graham a heads-up on the Soleimani strike, he did not do the same with congressional leaders.

“This action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted in a statement released Thursday night after news of the strike emerged.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also pointed out in a tweet that Congress had not authorized the attack.

On Fox, Graham was asked about Trump keeping the information from congressional leaders while giving his frequent golfing partner a heads-up.

“The last group of people you want to talk to about this is Democrats in Congress, Republicans in Congress,” Graham replied.

Graham is not a member of the “Gang of Eight,” the group of congressional leaders who traditionally receive briefings on national security matters from the executive branch.

He has played 14 rounds of golf with Trump, according to a count from the conservative Daily Mail, who noted that the “long list of outings make the South Carolina Republican by far Trump’s most frequent guest on the links.”

While he was a Trump critic before the 2016 election, Graham has been one of Trump’s most prominent defenders, even refusing to criticize Trump when he attacked the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who was reportedly close friends with Graham.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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