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Lindsey Graham Urges Trump to Defend Democracy with Russian Sanctions

By Associated Press:

A top Senate Republican is urging President-elect Donald Trump to defend democracy in the United States and around the world by punishing Russia for trying to interfere in the American presidential election as U.S. intelligence agencies allege.

“He’s going to be the defender of the free world here pretty soon,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a frequent Trump critic, said in remarks broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”All I’m asking him is to acknowledge that Russia interfered, and push back. It could be Iran next time. It could be China.”

Trump has consistently refused to blame Russia in the hacks that American intelligence agencies say were directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. intelligence officials on Friday briefed the president-elect on their conclusions that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election in order to help him win the White House. An unclassified version of the report directly tied Putin to election meddling and said that Moscow had a “clear preference” for Trump in his race against Hillary Clinton.

Trump has repeatedly sought to downplay the allegations, alarming some who see a pattern of skepticism directed at U.S. intelligence agencies and a willingness to embrace the Russian leader. On Friday after receiving a classified briefing on the matter, Trump tried to change the subject to allegations that hadn’t been raised by U.S. intelligence…

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