01:07 - Source: CNN
Lindsey Graham: Russia needs to be punished

Story highlights

Intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered with the 2016 election

"They clearly tried to manipulate the outcome," Graham said

CNN  — 

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday he is drafting a resolution with the goal of making Russia pay for interfering in the 2016 election.

“I will never be satisfied until the Congress and the White House work together to punish Russia for trying to interfere with our election,” the South Carolina Republican told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour.” “I don’t think they changed the outcome but they clearly tried to manipulate the outcome.”

The US intelligence community concluded in a declassified report that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” aimed at hurting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Graham has been one of the harshest critics of Russia following the revelation. He said if Trump doesn’t punish Russia for its behavior, it will show the world that the American resident is weak.

“If Donald Trump forgives Putin for what he tried to do in our election, that will scream weakness and the world will get a lot more unstable,” he said Thursday.

“There needs to be new sanctions imposed against Russia for interfering in our election,” Graham added.

The President has repeatedly downplayed the role of Russia in the election and has said that focusing on the country’s involvement in the race is meant to legitimize his win. Trump has ever expressed interest in removing existing sanctions against the country to approve relations.

If the investigation further confirms Russia’s involvement, Graham said he’d “tell the FBI to go after all things Russian and try to figure out how to prevent this in the future.”

Intelligence agencies reported that Russia hacked both Republican and Democratic targets, but only released emails from the latter.

Graham said everyone suffers when one party’s security is compromised.

“An attack on one party by a foreign entity is an attack on all parties,” he said. “We’re in this all together. When one party is compromised by a foreign entity, the whole process is compromised.”