Senator Lindsey Graham’s Insights on “Face the Nation” – February 18, 2024: Transcript Recap

Credits: Axios

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who previously opposed the bipartisan Senate legislation, is now expressing optimism about new U.S. assistance for Ukraine.

Speaking from Clemson, South Carolina, Senator Graham discussed his recent conversations with House colleagues and the potential for bipartisan support regarding border security and aid for Ukraine.

Senator Graham acknowledged the creative approach proposed by the Problem Solvers Caucus, led by Congressman Fitzpatrick and Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey.

Senator Lindsey Graham (Credits: Roll Call)

The proposal suggests reinstating the “Remain in Mexico” policy for border security, requiring individuals to wait in Mexico for their asylum claims instead of being released in the United States.

Additionally, the plan calls for the reinstatement of Title 42. Senator Graham believes these border measures, along with a reduced aid package focused on $60 billion in lethal aid, could be a winning combination. In a strategic move, Senator Graham suggested converting the lethal aid into a loan, aligning with former President Trump’s suggestion.

Drawing a parallel with European assistance to Ukraine, where $33 billion out of $50 billion was provided as a loan, Senator Graham sees the loan approach as a way to garner support, not only in the House but also in the Senate.

He emphasized that the combination of “Remain in Mexico,” Title 42, and a loan-based aid package would provide relief to Ukraine, pose a setback to Russian President Putin, and benefit Israel and Taiwan.

Addressing his previous opposition to the bipartisan legislation, Senator Graham clarified that his vote was influenced by a desire to strengthen border security. However, he now sees potential in the emerging House legislation, a $66 billion package encompassing support for Israel, Ukraine, and border security.

While underscoring the need for more robust border provisions, Senator Graham signaled his willingness to support the House proposal, anticipating the backing of several Republicans who share his concerns.

Shifting the conversation to Russia and the recent events surrounding Russian opposition leader [Navalny], Senator Graham proposed a significant move. He suggested making Russia a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law, holding them accountable for [Navalny]’s death.

This designation would allow the [Navalny] family to pursue legal action against Putin’s Russia in U.S. courts. Senator Graham views this measure as a game-changer, paving the way for additional sanctions and bringing Russia in line with countries like Iran, Cuba, and North Korea.

When asked about the timeline for legislation on Russia’s state sponsor of terrorism designation, Senator Graham expressed confidence, stating that he expects it to progress this week.

He emphasized the importance of making Russia pay a price for [Navalny]’s death and commended President Biden for taking a strong stance on the matter.

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