Lindsey Graham a hard 'no' on joining Trump administration

Image: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appears on Meet the Press on Jan. 7, 2
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on NBC's 'Meet The Press' on Sunday. Copyright NBC News
By Kailani Koenig with NBC News
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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he has no interest in taking any kind of Cabinet-level position in President Donald Trump's administration.

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday that he has no interest in taking any kind of Cabinet-level position in President Donald Trump's administration, despite spending increasing time working alongside his onetime rival.

"No," Graham flatly stated on NBC's "Meet The Press" when asked by Chuck Todd whether he would serve in Trump's Cabinet if asked.

Graham has been seen as increasingly cozy with Trump recently, which Trump remarked on last week when he said Graham "used to be a great enemy of mine but now he's a great friend of mine." Graham ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

"He's the president of the United States," Graham said of his new fondness for Trump. "He's going to make a decision about immigration I've been working on for a decade. He's president of the United States — going to make a decision about North Korea, which is one of the biggest threats to the world at large. He's going to decide whether or not to stay in the Iranian agreement. I've enjoyed his company. He beat me like a dog. I've said everything I know to say about him — I've used every adjective on the planet. I lost. He won."

"I don't think he's crazy," Graham continued. "I think he's had a very successful 2017. And I want to help him where I can. And we should all want him to be successful. He's got a lot on his plate."

Graham also claimed that Trump does now believe that Russians were behind the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, despite questioning numerous times whether Russia played a role in the hacks in the past.

When the president refers to the Russia investigation as a "hoax," Graham says, Trump is talking about allegations of collusion between the campaign and Russians during the 2016 election.

"Whether or not there is collusion, Bob Mueller will tell us," Graham said, referring to the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign's connections with Russians. "I've seen no evidence of collusion."

While Graham acknowledged that he has always said the president has a "blind spot" to Russia, things are changing "for the better," he said, pointing to the administration's decision to approve the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

"When it comes to Russia, I've said on your show a million times he has an attitude toward [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that I think is counterproductive. The president does believe his intel agencies," Graham said.

"He is firmly telling the world he didn't collude with the Russians. And we're not going to let him be the final authority on that," Graham said. "We're going to let Mr. Mueller tell us whether or not this campaign colluded with the Russians."

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