Sen. Graham Clarifies 'Riots' Remark, Knocks DOJ for Trump Obsession Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to supporters at the Charleston County Victory Office in 2020. ( Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Sunday, 04 September 2022 11:19 AM EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has clarified his comments from last week, when predicting there would be "riots in the streets" if the Justice Department (DOJ) charged former President Donald Trump with a federal crime over classified documents being stored at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
While speaking to CNBC on Saturday, Graham toned down his previous words by saying, "what I tried to do was state the obvious."
Graham continued: "Here's what I said, The raid on President Trump's home, the likely [Republican Party] nominee for 2024, better bear some fruit here. If it's just about mishandling classified information, we've [already] had a standard set when it came to Hillary Clinton."
The former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham says the federal government has seemingly thrown out all the rules — in terms of wanting respectful and prudent law enforcement — when it comes to Trump.
And that pervasive attitude of "Get him, it doesn't matter how you get him" has become problematic, says the South Carolina Republican.
"So I said if [Trump's alleged crime] is similar to what happened to Clinton and he gets prosecuted, it'll be one of the most disruptive events in America," says Graham.
Graham's reference to Hillary Clinton — the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee who lost to Trump in that year's general election — involved her stint as President Barack Obama's Secretary of State. During that time, the FBI claimed Clinton had mishandled classified documents on an email server, but was also never prosecuted for the supposed error in judgment.
Regarding the Clinton-Trump comparison, there's a significant difference between the titles of secretary of state and President of the United States.
As such, two weeks ago, while serving as a studio guest on "Rob Schmitt Tonight," Trump attorney Alina Habba told Newsmax the Mar-a-Lago affidavit implied potential guilt for the former president on three fronts — concealment, espionage, and destruction of documents.
To which, Habba responded: If the DOJ claims concealment, "you wouldn't have allowed [federal agents] into Mar-a-Lago," Habba said.
If the DOJ cites espionage, Habba said the Trump attorneys wouldn't have been transparent about federal officials viewing the documents in June.
And if the DOJ argues destruction, Habba says Trump's people wouldn't have responded positively to the feds' request of putting a padlock on the presidential documents.
"What people don't understand: Presidents have different kinds of privileges — executive privileges," said Habba, adding that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama exercised similar declassification privileges with documents after leaving office in 2009 and 2017, respectively.
At a midterm-election rally Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Trump lashed out at Democrats, the DOJ, the FBI, and the national media over the Aug. 8 raid his Florida home.
"The shameful raid and break-in of my home at Mar-a-Lago was a travesty of justice that made a mockery of America's laws, traditions and principles before the entire world,"Trump told the crowd of boisterous supporters.