With Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluding there was no coordination between Russia and any American in the 2016 campaign, that's hardly the end of the investigations. This past week, the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize a subpoena for the full confidential Mueller report. Republicans aren't done either. On the Senate side, Lindsey Graham, head of the powerful Judiciary Committee, announced he's beginning an investigation into possible abuses by intelligence officials. He spoke with Sharyl Attkisson about those efforts.
Sharyl: What's the headline in simple terms of your plan?
Senator Lindsey Graham: I'm gonna try to find out how this all started. Mueller told us there's no collusion. Well, how did the whole idea of collusion begin with? Mueller told us there was no obstruction of justice. I'm going to find out how this got so off the rails and hold those accountable who started this mess. The counter intelligence investigation against the Trump campaign. How did it start? When they found out somebody in Dianne Feinstein's office may be working with the Chinese government to a counter intelligence investigation, they called Dianne and said, "you got a problem," and she took care of it. That's what the law requires. They never told Trump that "You may have a problem with people connected to Russia." Why?
Sharyl: What do you think?
Senator Lindsey Graham: I think they wanted to get into his campaign using counter intelligence as the way to do it. I think they didn't really believe there was collusion. They just wanted to get into the Trump world. I don't think they really believed Carter Page was an agent working for the Russians who happened to be hired by the Trump campaign. I think they were setting the Trump campaign up, leaking this information out to make it seem like they believed they were doing something they weren't because they wanted her to win and him to lose. And if you want her to win, how do you indict her for mishandling classified information? If you or I did what she did with classified information, we'd be in jail.
Sharyl: Is Attorney General Barr going to appoint another Special Counsel?
Senator Lindsey Graham: I don't know, but he's going to take it seriously. He's very upset about what he's seen. He believes it was very unprofessional and his, he cares about the reputation of the Department of Justice.
Sharyl: He's told you this, you've met with him?
Senator Lindsey Graham: Yeah. I mean the, the FBI director wants to start over and the only way you're gonna get a clean bill of health is for somebody to look and see how it got off the rails.
Sharyl: With the House, run by Democrats, on its track still looking at Trump and Russia and the Senate, run by Republicans, looking at these alleged surveillance abuses perhaps used against president Trump and his associates How does one convince the American public -or is it necessary to do so- that this isn't just political tit for tat?
Senator Lindsey Graham: See, that's the point. I think most reason people believe that Mueller was fair. I stood by Mueller, I've known him for 20 years. I thought he would be fair. At the end of the day, he found no collusion and no obstruction of justice. Bottom line is that should be the end of looking at the Trump campaign. And if Democrats keep going, they're going to look like Oliver Stone trying to find the person who shot Kennedy. At the end of the day, that should be the definitive answer toward the Trump campaign. What I'm trying to tell the American people is nobody has had that kind of scrutiny to the 2016 other side of the story. Nobody has looked at the FISA warrant application process to see if it was rigged. I'm going to do that, but I'm a politician. I'm going to try to find ways to fix the system so it doesn't happen again. But I want somebody like Mueller to look at the potential abuses of the other side so we can close the records in the book on 2016. Until you find that person, Republicans believe and I think rightly so, that there's plenty of evidence that department of Justice and the FBI wanted Clinton to win and Trump to lose and they took the law in their own hands, and that should scare everybody.
Sharyl: When do you think we'll know whether the Attorney General is going to appoint a Special Counsel or how he plans to proceed?
Senator Lindsey Graham: Probably sooner rather than later. He's going to be before the committee May the first to testify about the Mueller report. That will be up to him, but I'm confident he is going to have somebody look into the other side of the story. Somebody to look at the FISA warrant abuse, somebody to look and see if a counter intelligence operation was a, was a backdoor way to get in the Trump campaign, and somebody to look and see how they treat Clinton versus an average American. Now whether that's a Special Counsel or in-house, I'm sure he's going to do it. I just don't know when.
The vote by Democrats authorizes a subpoena for the Mueller report and the evidence collected in the 22-month long investigation, but they have not actually issued the subpoena.
We also talked to Senator Graham about another hot topic: the border. This week President Trump took another stand on his threat to shut down the Mexican border. He says he’ll give Mexico a year to stop the flow of drugs and migrants into the US. Graham explains why he supports that move.
Senator Lindsey Graham: You need three things. You need to get Mexico to stop the caravans. Under international law, you have to claim asylum in the first safe place you reach. That's Mexico. Mexico under international law is considered a safe place to apply for asylum. So Mexico is letting people walk thousands of miles through Mexico. They put them on buses, they drop him off at our front, you know, front steps and say here. So Trump's right to tell Mexico, if you keep that up, I'm going to shut down the border. You've got to change your laws. You've got to make sure that the three countries where we get the 70% of these illegal immigrants that we're going to cut their aid off until their change their practices. You've got to change our laws. But Mexico, notice tell the three countries in question to knock it off.
Sharyl: Would you say that, the more money we give them to fix their problems, the more incentive they have to let more of their people come here? So it looks like we need to give them more money to fix their problems?
Senator Lindsey Graham: Every time a problem is created the solution is money. So you're dead right? I don't mind helping Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. I just want to get a return on investment. I want to show progress right now. We're giving them money and getting nothing for it. So it is a perverse incentive. The bigger problem they create for us in the past, the more money they got until Trump. Now Trump reversed it. Okay? If you don't get better, you're not going to get any money. That'll work. And he's telling Mexico, if you don't stop these caravans where they get to the US border, we're gonna, you know, we're going to shut down the border and they need trade with us more than we need with them.
One particular part of trade the president mentioned.. is a possible tariff, or tax, on cars made in Mexico and shipped into the US.