“You’re Your Own Worst Enemy Here, Mr. President,” Graham Tells Trump

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WASHINGTON (CBSNews) — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told President Trump that he is his “own worst enemy” when it comes to tweets that Graham says feed a “lynch mob” mentality in the press.

“All I can say is there’s a lynch mob mentality about the Trump administration in the press,” Graham said Sunday (June 11) on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “They’re about as fair as a lynch mob. But these tweets that he does feeds that lynch mob. You’re your own worst enemy here, Mr. President. Knock it off.”

Graham made the comments after a week in which the president has tweeted in response to fired FBI Director James Comey‘s explosive testimony. Since the testimony Thursday (June 8), Mr. Trump — on Twitter — has called Comey a “leaker” and described the former FBI director’s decision to disclose memos of his conversations with the president “‘cowardly.'” The president is also refusing to say whether there are tapes of his conversations with Comey, after the president hinted there might be in a tweet last month.

Graham said the president is “totally” getting in the way of his own agenda.

“Can you be a street fighter on all things all the time and still be a good president?” Graham said. “My advice to the president is every day you’re talking about Jim Comey and not the American people and their needs and their desires, their hopes and their dreams, you’re making a mistake.”

When asked about comments Comey and Mr. Trump have made about each other, Graham said it’s “more like a wrestling match than anything else.”

“At the end of the day, he’s got a good agenda,” Graham said of the president. “But this does get in the way of it. So, the hearing was pretty good. No collusion with the Russians yet. I don’t think obstruction of justice exists here. But every time you tweet about Comey, it’s almost like the wait for the next wrestling match between Comey and Trump.”

Graham also said that “what’s so frustrating” for Republicans like him is, “You may be the first president in history to go down because you can’t stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that if you just were quiet, would clear you.”

Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he wants to hear directly from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from investigations involving the Trump campaign. Sessions said Saturday he has agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday (June 13), although members of the committee have said the details of his appearance are not yet finalized. It’s unclear whether such testimony would take place in an open or closed setting.

Graham also wants former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify before the Senate, after Comey stated in his testimony that she asked Comey to call the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server a “matter,” rather than an “investigation.”

Graham said he sees “no evidence” that the president colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 election.

“He can’t collude with his own government, why do you think he’s colluding with the Russians?” Graham said.

But Graham also said Congress will pass a bill this week to “punish” Russia for meddling in American politics and politics across the globe. There is “overwhelming evidence that Russia is trying to destroy democracy here and abroad.”

“We’re gonna’ punish the Russians,” Graham said, adding that if the president doesn’t sign the bill he would be “betraying democracy.”