Senate Republican on Trump's alleged attempt to fire special counsel

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., weighs in on whether the president went too far when he reportedly tried to fire special counsel last June.
3:00 | 01/28/18

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Transcript for Senate Republican on Trump's alleged attempt to fire special counsel
Joining me now Republican senator Lindsey graham of south Carolina, who sits on the senate judiciary committee. Good morning, senator. Good morning. You said last fall that any effort to go after Robert Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the trump presidency. In light of the reporting that president trump ordered the firing of Robert Mueller last June, backing down only after the white house counsel threatened to resign, do you still believe in what row said? Or is that a red line? Oh, yeah. If he fired Mueller without cause. He's doing a good job. I have confidence in him to get to the bottom of all things Russia. And don mcgahn in the story is true, did the right thing. Good news is the president listened. I know this, Mueller should look ate. Have complete confidence in Mr. Mueller. When he found two FBI agents with a bias against president trump, he fired them. All this stuff about the FBI and doj having a bias against trump and for Clinton needs to be looked at. I have never believed it affected Mr. Mueller. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure Mr. Mueller can do his job. We're a rule of law nation before president trump. We'll be one after president trump. I have seen no evidence of collusion between Mr. Trump and the Russians. The investigation needs to go forward without interference. You believe the stories about mcgahn? About president trump? I don't know. I believer it's something that Mueller should look at. We're not just going to say it's fake news and move on. Mueller is the best person to look at it. We know that he did not fire Mr. Mueller. We know if he tried to, it would be the end of his presidency. At the end of the day, let Mr. Mueller do his job and see if we can fix a broken immigration system. You said last October, I don't think anybody in their right mind in the white house would think about replacing Mr. Mueller. Again. Anybody in their right mind. So what does that say about president trump if, in fact, this is true? I think every president wants to get rid of critics. I mean, I remember the Ken Starr investigation. And Bill Clinton came out and said, this guy spent millions of dollars and nothing to show for it. The president is frustrated. He's told me a thousand times and everybody else. I didn't collude with no Russians. We'll find out if that is true. I have seen no evidence. The president is frustrated. He didn't fire Mr. Mueller. If the report is true, Mr. Mcgahn did the right thing and the president listened. Thismore Mueller to look at. You heard the president saying when asked last ought he said, he hadn't given it a thought. So -- if this reporting is true, then the president was lying to the American people? This is for Mr. Mueller to determine. We're not going to stop looking at the president because he claims "The New York Times' fake news. We're not going to convict him because of a news article. I think Mr. Mule seller is the perfect guy to get to the bottom of this. I have legislation protecting Mr. Mueller. I'll be glad to pass it tomorrow. I see no evidence that Mr. Trump wants to fire Mr. Mueller right now. Even no the white house knows it would be the end of the president's presidency if he fired Mr. Mueller. So I think we're in a good spot with Mr. Mueller. You're talking about the bill you brought forward in August. Will you push it further? You said you would like to pass tomorrow. I think it would be good to have legislation to protect all special counsels. There needs to be a special counsel to look at the department of justice and the way the FBI handled the Clinton e-mail up investigation and the early stages of the Russian investigation. The text messages show political bias. Ave seen a lot of conflicts of interest. I'm disturbed about the way that Mr. Steele was handled. We need a special counsel to go into that area as well. And the law would apply to that person also. I just want to go back to president trump and Mueller for a moment. The post says a person familiar are with the Mueller investigation says they are focusing on a pattern of behavior. That president trump tried to prevent attorney general sessions from recusing himself. Asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation before firing him. And dictated the misleading statement about don jr.'s trump tower meeting. Are you seeing a pattern of behavior that's concerning to you? I'm seeing a man, Mr. Mueller, in charge of an investigation that needs to occur for the good of the nation. I have a lot of faith in him. He's going to get to the bottom of all things Russia. And I haven't seen any evidence of collusion. Soy don't want to prejudge where Mr Mueller is going to go. Does this pattern disturb you at all, senator? Well, I don't know how accurate all this is. The bottom of the line is, you have a frustrated president. He could have fired Comey for any reason under the sun. Except for a corrupt purpose. Was there a corrupt purpose in firing comb -- Comey? I don't know. I can tell the American people, I'm a Republican. I want to make sure this president and every other president that folks can't do considered above the law. They're treated fairly. And have an independent counsel like Mr. Mueller is the best way forward. President trump wanted a classified memo. Written by staff Devin nunes. That suggests they may have relied on politically motivated sources to justify the request for a surveillance warrant. The justice department doesn't want it released. They say it would be extraordinarily reckless without officials being able to review it. Is the president right on wanting that released? Do you want it released? I want somebody outside of the republican-led congress to look at the allegations. I'm not asking that Lindsey graham be the final arbiter of whether doj and FBI was offbase. No, I don't want it released yet. I don't. I want somebody without a political bias to come in and look at the allegations I have seen. I've been a lawyer most of my adult life. The way the nib conducted its and the department of justice bothered me. That's not to say that you should investigate trump, too. Do two things. Look at the department of justice, the FBI, and the trump campaign. How do you feel about trump's attacks on law enforcement in general outside of this investigation, a few months ago, he said the FBI's reputation is in Tatters. Worth in history. What do you think of that language? Well, the agents, the way they've conducted themselves bothered me. A lot of FBI agents are bother bid the way these two agents behaved. The FBI are the best among us. They're up there with the military in terms of public approval and respect. Mr. Comey, I think, had his problems. We'll get to the bottom of all of this. Don't lump everybody in together. The FBI is a wonderful organization. But, somebody's got to watch those who watch us. The FBI is not above oversight. The department of justice is not above oversight. It's not -- you just can't let the organization behave without oversight. Whether it's the person you like or not like. It could be you or me tomorrow. President trump said he looked forward to talking to Robert Mueller. His lawyers seem to have back AUFD on that a little bit. Yeah. You're laughing. You could tell me why and tell me -- I wouldn't look forward to talking to him. The president. I like president trump. He feels frustrated. He's being accused of something he didn't do. He's a very frustrated man. To the president, I would talk to my lawyers before I made firm decisions about who to talk to or not talk to. Mr. Mueller will do his jobs. He'll follow the evidence where it leads. If the president wants to talk to Mr. Mueller, before he makes that decision, if I were him, I would talk to my lawyers.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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