Lindsey Graham Hits NBC Reporter Over 'Absurd' Question: 'You've Got to Be Kidding Me'

A reporter asked whether supporting Trump is 'conflict of interest'

March 25, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) got testy with a reporter Monday who asked whether he had a "conflict of interest" by being close to President Donald Trump while chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Graham held a press conference in wake of the completion of the Mueller report and its finding that there was no evidence of collusion between candidate Donald Trump and Russia. Graham told reporters he was scheduled to speak with Attorney General William Barr at noon but would like him to testify before the committee as well.

"You brought up [former Attorney General] Jeff Sessions's clear conflict of interest, and yet you I'm told delivered a rousing speech at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend," asked NBC News reporter Geoff Bennett. "Is that kind of public closeness with the president appropriate? Does it not at least give the appearance of a conflict of interest, given your role in chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee?"

"You've got to be kidding," Graham deadpanned in response.

"Did anybody ever ask during the Clinton impeachment that a Democrat was conflicted on speaking out on behalf of the president?" he continued. "I am a elected political official. I am a Republican, I am going all over the country to speak to the Republican Party. I want Trump to win."

"I'm chairman of the Judiciary Committee," he continued. "I do my job very responsibly. This committee is going to allow Mr. Barr to come forward and tell us and answer some of the questions you've asked. I'm asking him to lay it all out. I stood by Mr. Mueller because I believe in the rule of law."

"There's politics, and there's the rule of law," Graham said, holding up his hands to demonstrate. "So to suggest that if you're a Republican, and that you want Trump to win, somehow you can't do your job is absurd."

Graham has previously parried baseless accusations that he's being blackmailed to support Trump, a president in his own party.