sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., said Congress should be sending a stronger signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin as fears of an imminent invasion continue lingering throughout Ukraine.
ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Graham on Sunday whether he is convinced Putin will invade the neighboring Baltic state.
“No, I’m not but I’m convinced that we could do more in Congress and should,” Graham answered.
The Senate’s prospects to pass a sweeping bipartisan sanctions bill have stalled, and Graham said the White House “keeps pushing back” against pre- and post-invasion sanctions being considered by Congress.
Stephanopoulos followed up: “You’re saying the president is pushing back against but you also have some pushback from your Republican colleagues in the Senate.”
“There’s 70 votes in the body for invasion sanctions, pre-invasion sanctions with a waiver, post-invasion sanctions,” Graham responded. “So the problem has been secondary sanctions. It’s not just enough to sanction a Russian bank. You want to sanction anybody that does business with that bank.”
“We got to convince the Russians that Congress will destroy Nord Stream 2 as a cash cow for Putin,” he added.
On Saturday, President Joe Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a little more than an hour from Camp David, pledging to “impose swift and severe costs” if Russian forces invade Ukraine.
Graham said the US-Russia relationship “would be forever changed,” possibly harming the diplomatic process for decades to come if it came to an invasion of Ukraine.
“This is not the last president America will have. If Russia invades the Ukraine, you will destroy the US-Russia relationship for decades and every president in the near-term will be put in a box when it comes to dealing with Russia, so I hope Putin understands that,” Graham said.
National security advisor Jake Sullivan said “an invasion could begin at any time, Vladimir Putin should decide to order it,” during a White House press briefing on Thursday.
When asked about whether the Biden administration releasing intelligence about a possible false flag operation has been effective in stunting Putin’s possible military advance into Ukraine, Graham said the US government should be doing more.
“I don’t want to ring alarm bell, as much as take action. They’re telling us the invasion is imminent, but they’re not telling Putin with clarity what if you invade,” Graham added. “He should be punished now.”
sen. Lindsey Graham says future is bright for GOP ahead of midterms originally appeared on abcnews.go.com