Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was only stating the “obvious” when he predicted “riots in the streets” would erupt if the Justice Department prosecuted former President Donald Trump over the cache of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
“What I tried to do was state the obvious,” the South Carolina Republican and Trump ally said in an interview with CNBC on Saturday.
“Here’s what I said, The raid on [former] President Trump’s home, the likely nominee for 2024, better bear some fruit here,” he told the outlet at a forum in Italy. “If it’s just about mishandling classified information, we’ve had a standard set when it came to Hillary Clinton.”
Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said when it comes to Trump, the federal government has thrown out all the rules.
He said that attitude creates a case of “‘get him, it doesn’t matter how you get him.’ So I said if it’s similar to what happened to Clinton and he gets prosecuted, it’ll be one of the most disruptive events in America.”
Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate who lost to Trump, was investigated by the FBI for having classified documents on an email server but never prosecuted.
At a rally Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Trump lashed out at Democrats, the justice system and the media over the Aug. 8 raid at his Palm Beach estate.
“The shameful raid and break-in of my home at Mar-a-Lago was a travesty of justice that made a mockery of America’s laws, traditions and principles before the entire world,” he told a crowd of supporters.
He also rekindled the “Crooked Hillary Clinton” moniker from the 2016 campaign that prompted chants of “lock her up” from the crowd.
Trump has been in a legal fight with the Justice Department over assigning a “special master” to review the seized documents to separate materials deemed protected by attorney-client privilege from the boxes of classified information.
As part of that case, an updated inventory of items seized at Mar-a-Lago was released last week showing that 54 documents were marked “SECRET,” 31 were labeled “CONFIDENTIAL” and another 18 were called “TOP SECRET.”
Agents also took 48 empty folders labeled with “CLASSIFIED” banners while another 42 empty folders were labeled “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.”
Graham, in an interview last Sunday on Fox News, said the investigations into Trump and Clinton indicate a double standard about how justice is applied.
“And I’ll say this, if there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle … there will be riots in the streets,” Graham told host Trey Gowdy.