Graham Pushes Back After Trump Suggests Calling Obama to Testify Before Congress

May 14, 2020 Updated: May 14, 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pushed back after President Donald Trump put him on the spot with a suggestion that a senator or congress member should call former President Barack Obama to testify on what he knew about Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s case.

“If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama,” he wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday morning. “He knew EVERYTHING.”

The president singled out Graham, the chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, to do it.

“Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!” he wrote.

Trump CCP virus briefing
President Donald Trump speaks during a CCP virus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on May 11, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Graham brushed aside Trump’s suggestions, saying that it’s not wise for the country.

“As to the Judiciary Committee, both presidents are welcome to come before the committee and share their concerns about each other. If nothing else it would make for great television,” he stated. “However, I have great doubts about whether it would be wise for the country.”

Graham also suggested it’s inappropriate for the sitting president to accuse his predecessor during the CCP virus pandemic, or vice versa.

The Obama Foundation didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump feuded with Obama after a recently declassified document revealed several top Obama-era officials had made unmasking requests in intelligence reports that ended up identifying Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser.

Flynn resigned on Feb. 13, 2017, after he failed to inform then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence that he talked with former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak about the U.S. sanctions against Russia during his calls in December 2016.

Those calls were under FBI crosshairs at the time.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) released the declassified list after receiving it from Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.

The list contains names of recipients who may have received Flynn’s identity in response to a request processed between Nov. 8, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2017, to unmask an identity that had been generically referred to in a National Security Agency foreign intelligence report.

The list of names include former Vice President Joe Biden, Obama’s then-chief of staff Denis McDonough, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI director James Comey, and former CIA Director John Brennan.

In the course of monitoring communications with foreign officials, the conversations of U.S. citizens are at times incidentally collected by intelligence agencies. The identity of these people is usually redacted in transcripts or intelligence reports if they’re not the subject of surveillance. “Unmasking” refers to the process of revealing the name of the U.S. citizen.

Epoch Times Photo
Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates on Capitol Hill on May 8, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A court filing (pdf) from the Justice Department also shows Obama knew details of the Flynn calls.

Sally Yates, former deputy attorney general, testified that Obama told her and others during a Jan. 5, 2017, meeting at the White House that he had “learned of the information about Flynn” and the lieutenant general’s discussions with Kislyak.

Though he doesn’t agree with Trump’s suggestion to get Obama to testify, Graham averred he will investigate the unmasking requests to determine if these requests were legitimate.

Grassley also demanded answers about what Obama and Biden knew about the Flynn case and when they learned the details.

“It’s unclear to what extent they discussed the details of the investigation amongst each other, but given all that we know now regarding the fake foundation to the inquiry, it’s time we asked,” he said. “What did Obama and Biden know? And when did they know it?”

Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan and Zackary Stieber contributed to the report.

Follow Allen on Twitter: @AllenZM