Sciutto Lindsey Graham on Trump and Russia_00000805.jpg
CNN
Sciutto Lindsey Graham on Trump and Russia_00000805.jpg
Now playing
01:02
Graham: Trump disagrees with Senate on Russia
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Now playing
02:16
Trump slams probe 'hoax' despite intel warning
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 09: Emin Agalarov, Donald Trump and Aras Agalarov attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images)
Victor Boyko/Getty Images
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 09: Emin Agalarov, Donald Trump and Aras Agalarov attend the red carpet at Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 on November 9, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:23
Russian pop star trolls Trump in music video (2018)
Trump WH 5
CNN
Trump WH 5
Now playing
01:31
Trump: It is possible I will meet with Putin
Now playing
01:06
Toobin calls Giuliani claim 'corrupt and unethical'
CNN
Now playing
00:54
Giuliani: Stop the possibility of impeachment
Getty Images
Now playing
03:03
GOP members slam Trump's Russia comments
CNN
Now playing
01:38
Giuliani: Trump has right to know FBI source
Now playing
01:21
Trump says 'disgraceful' if FBI spied on campaign
Getty Images
Now playing
01:34
Trump lawyers seek to limit Mueller interview
CNN
Now playing
02:45
Page: Never found anything unusual about FBI source
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08:  Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:08
Comey: Trump won't criticize Putin, even in private
UNTV
Now playing
02:27
Nikki Haley: I don't get confused
US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV        (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:03
Russia reacts to Trump's Syria strike tweets
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:26
US hits Putin allies with new sanctions

Story highlights

"I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this," Graham said

Graham and McCain were frequent critics of Trump during the campaign

CNN —  

Two of the Senate’s most prominent hardliners on Russia are framing the Washington consensus of Russian aggression as free from any disagreement whatsoever – except from President-elect Donald Trump.

Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain, on a trip to Estonia, a Baltic nation threatened by a belligerent Russia, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto in an exclusive interview that the matter was settled and that Trump was simply wrong to question the bipartisan agreement.

“There are 100 United States senators. Amy Klobuchar is on this trip with us. She’s a Democrat from Minnesota. I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this and we’re going to do something about it,” said Graham, who is planning a hearing with McCain on Russia’s interference with US elections. “We’re going to put sanctions together that hit Putin as an individual and his inner circle for interfering in our election, and they’re doing it all over the world – not just in the United States.”

McCain, Graham and Klobuchar are also headed to Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia and Montenegro to meet with officials about the Russian threat. The intelligence community has formally blamed the Kremlin for interfering in the most recent presidential election, using sophisticated hacking schemes and cyber intrusions to expose the emails of Democratic Party officials.

Graham and McCain were frequent critics of Trump during the campaign, and raised alarms about Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin, who Trump has praised as a “strong leader.”

McCain also reiterated his worries about Rex Tillerson, the retiring ExxonMobil CEO whom Trump has chosen to lead the State Department. McCain declined to say whether there would be a confirmation showdown next month in the Senate, noting that presidents tend to have the right to pick their own advisers. But McCain said he had “concerns” about Tillerson’s favorable posture toward Putin and Russia.

McCain expressed confidence, however, that Trump would “change his view” toward Russia – and specifically their role in the cyberattacks – once he becomes commander in chief and is “presented with the overwhelming evidence.”

Some Trump positions, such as those against Iran and China, have endeared him to his party’s hawks. Graham saluted those views but said that if Democrats and Republicans alike did not smack back at Putin, it would embolden the nations that Trump believes are geopolitical threats.

“If we don’t push back against Putin, Iran and China – they could hack in to our systems,” Graham said. “Today it’s Democrats, tomorrow it could be Republicans with the Iranians and the Chinese.”