President Trump on Thursday took to Twitter to urge Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to haul former President Obama to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee over his alleged role in the “biggest political crime and scandal” in the history of the U.S.
Trump’s request was a major escalation in his attempt to link Obama to the Russia investigation into his campaign and what Republicans say was an attempt by Democrats to undermine his presidency.
Trump has called the scandal, “Obamagate.”
Trump has accused Obama of being the tip of the spear behind the effort to discredit his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in order to damage the White House.
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Sidney Powell, the lawyer for Flynn, appeared to bolster Trump’s claim last weekend when she pointed to a Jan. 5, 2017 meeting at the White House that included Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden and other top intelligence officials. She said they worked to “set up” her client and the misdeeds reached the top, Obama himself.
Trump’s pitch to Graham, the head of the committee, comes after the names of former Obama officials behind the “unmasking” of Flynn were released. Former Obama officials have denied any wrongdoings and said “unmasking” is common practice.
“If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama. He knew everything. Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!”
Graham issued a statement later Thursday that appeared to throw cold water on Trump’s remarkable push.
“No president is above the law,” Graham said in the statement. “However, the presidency has executive privilege claims against other branches of government. … As to the Judiciary Committee, both presidents are welcome to come before the committee and share their concerns about each other. If nothing else it would make for great television. However, I have great doubts about whether it would be wise for the country.”
Graham confirmed that his panel would begin to hold “in-depth congressional hearings regarding all things related to Crossfire Hurricane starting in early June.”
Crossfire Hurricane was the counterintelligence investigation into possible links between Trump campaign members and Russia.
Trump told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo earlier that if he was a Democrat instead of a Republican, “everybody would have been in jail a long time ago, and I’m talking with 50-year sentences. It is a disgrace what’s happened. This is the greatest political scam, hoax in the history of our country,” Trump said. “People should be going to jail for this stuff and hopefully, a lot of people are going to have to pay.”
Politico reported the Graham further elaborated his concerns to bring Obama in front of the Senate.
“I don’t think now’s the time for me to do that. I don’t know if that’s even possible. I have grave concerns about the role of executive privilege and all kinds of issues,” he said. “I understand President Trump’s frustration, but be careful what you wish for. Just be careful what you wish for.”