Published: Wed, May 10, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Graham: 'I want to know more about Trump's business dealings'

Graham: 'I want to know more about Trump's business dealings'

In an interview with CNN, Graham said he was intrigued by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's testimony Monday when he declined to comment over whether he had any concerns with Trump business ties and Russian Federation, saying it could influence an ongoing investigation.

Mr Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer said in response that if Mr Obama "was seriously concerned" about Mr Flynn's connections to Russian Federation or other foreign countries, he should have withheld Mr Flynn's security clearance.

Former Director Clapper, in your opening statement you suggested that the Russians should be celebrating and that they are likely emboldened because they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and at minimal cost, and they are likely to continue. "And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians".

She said she had warned him that Mr Flynn had apparently misled the administration about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.

Therefore, it didn't come as much of a surprise when the president took to social media to comment on former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates' Senate hearing on the alleged Russian conspiracy to influence the 2016 elections and the possible ties between Moscow and ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. And who did she share that with.

Obama had cautioned against Flynn, whom he fired in 2014 as head of the defense intelligence agency, due to his poor record in administration and personnel management.

Yates' testimony returned the spotlight to the simmering controversy over Russia's meddling in last year's USA election.

Ms Yates was appointed by the Obama administration and was sacked by Mr Trump on January 30 for refusing to defend his travel ban. "I asked Clapper. 'I said, 'Is there any business dealings with the Trump organization that gave you concern?' And he said, 'No, ' with a caveat, 'I don't know what the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking at so I don't want to run afoul with them'".

Probes by several congressional committees have been bogged down for weeks amid accusations by Democrats that Republicans have stalled progress to protect the White House.

Before the hearing, the president had tweeted that it was the Obama administration, not he, that had given Mr Flynn "the highest security clearance" when he worked at the Pentagon.

Senator Coons, honestly, all I know is what I'm reading in the media, and so I don't have access to any intelligence information that would help me cast any light or could authoritatively answer your question.

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