- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2016

As President-elect Donald Trump continues to dismiss claims concerning Russia’s purported meddling in last month’s White House race, South Carolina senator and former Republican presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the Kremlin had compromised his own political campaign.

Mr. Graham told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this week the FBI believes his campaign email account was compromised by Russian hackers earlier this year, placing him in the company of other hacking victims including the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful White House bid.

“I do believe the Russians hacked into the DNC. I do believe they hacked into Podesta’s email account. They hacked into my campaign account,” Mr. Graham said during an appearance on CNN’s “Situation Room” program.

“Our campaign vendor that we use was hacked,” he continued later. “We were told by the FBI in August that we were hacked in June.” A spokesperson for the senator did not immediately respond when asked for information on the particular vendor involved, Talking Points Memo reported Thursday.

Mr. Graham’s comments were made amid rekindled interest among his congressional colleagues with respect to a cybercampaign waged against various facets of the U.S. government prior to last month’s general election by hackers widely believed to be taking orders from Moscow.

While the Obama administration has attributed that campaign to the Russian government, Mr. Trump has continued to reject the claim as recently as Thursday this week.

“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” Mr. Trump tweeted.

“Here’s President Trump’s dilemma: What are you going to do?” Mr. Graham asked during a Thursday appearance on Fox News. “Now if you don’t believe that the Russians were involved in interfering in our election then I am really troubled by that because I have been briefed. I don’t think anybody who’s heard these briefings doubts that the Russians were interfering in our elections.”

According to Mr. Graham, a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Russia has been actively meddling in the affairs of the U.S. and other nations in a bid to “destabilize democracy all over the world.”

Nonetheless, he added that he didn’t think those efforts were the sole reason Mrs. Clinton lost the recent White House race.

“I do believe that all the information released publicly hurt Clinton and didn’t hurt Trump. I don’t think the outcome of the election is in doubt. What we should do is not turn on each other but work as one people to push back on Russia,” he told Mr. Blitzer on Wednesday.

“I think Hillary Clinton lost because she wasn’t an agent of change and she tried to disqualify Trump and she wasn’t able to do it,” he said.

Last month Mr. Graham suggested lawmakers hold a series of hearings on “Russia’s misadventures throughout the world,” specifically involving Moscow’s alleged use of computer intrusions and email leaks in the run-up to last month’s election.

More recently the South Carolina Republican got behind a bipartisan effort earlier this week calling on both the House and Senate to fully investigate Russia’s alleged election meddling.

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