tv Senator Lindsey Graham Town Hall Meeting CSPAN March 13, 2017 10:05am-11:33am EDT
through the senate. that is a problem for the folks who want to move quickly. all republicans agree it needs to happen quickly. but all of these changes put it in peril trying to make it through the senate. senateeporting from the drusch.address -- andrea senate meeting for a confirmation vote on the centers for medicare and medicaid. you can watch that live over them the senate on c-span2. the house not in session, back at noon eastern for general speeches in 2 p.m. per legislative business. severall deal with bills on veterans issues. live coverage from the floor of c-span.e here on on saturday, south carolina senator and former presidential candidate lindsey graham held a
town hall meeting at clemson university. constituents asked about gop of the replacement law efforts, environmental protection, and russian involvement in the 2016 elections. [applause] so, we are going to be done so we can go to the clemson-carolina baseball game, arts by 1:00. i will make a comment about the latest tweet. have you seen it? all right. apparently this morning president trump tweeted out that he believes that president obama ordered wiretapping of his campaign -- [laughter] [jeering] senator graham: yes. i know -- i don't know what happened, but that is a summary between. the president of the united states is claiming that the former president of the united states order to wiretapping of his campaign last year. i don't know if it is true or not, but if it is true --
illegally -- it would be the biggest political scandal since watergate. [jeering] now, the other side of the story -- just be quiet. be quiet. if the former president of the united states was able to obtain a warrant lawfully to monitor trump's cabinet for violating laws, that would be the biggest scandal since watergate. so, here is the deal. as we get ready to talk to each other, i'm very worried. that ourworried president is suggesting that the former president has done something illegally. i would be very worried if in fact the obama administration was able to obtain a warrant lawfully about chum campaign
activity with -- trump campaign activity with foreign governments. so, it's my job as the united states senator to get to the bottom of this. applause]d senator graham: i -- question? ok. do you want me to talk louder? ok, i can do that. i can barely hear the video, too. all right. good. this western is from andrea harvey from westminster. senator graham: stand up. where is andrea? [cheers and applause] for a you going to push russian investigation and not just support when? everyone's involvement in russia
needs to be investigated. senator graham: all right. i'm not only going to push for a russian investigation, i am going to punish russia for trying to interfere in our election. i have proposed sanctions to beyondthe putin regime what they did in crimea. these are bipartisan sanctions. here is what i think also -- how about you let me finish my question? how about this? i believe with all of my heart and soul that the russians did interfere with our election. it was not a 400-pound man sitting on a bed somewhere. it was russian intelligence hacks into podesta's -- through dnc, they
a third party in my view, gave that information to wikileaks, and it was leaked out during the course of the campaign. that, to me, needs to be punished. any republicans here? upset about this as any democrat because an attack on one party by a foreign power is an attack on all parties. [applause] to the graham: as outcome, i'm not suggesting it change the outcome. i am suggest inc. they enter -- i am suggesting they interfered and then even be punished. as to the trunk campaign. i met with the fbi inspector yesterday. holding a meeting. the ranking member is senator whitehouse and we will expand to you in the world what russia does to democracies all over the world. there are two thoughts on how they use it. we will do two things. we will explain to the world
what russia does do break the backbone of democracy, including ours, and we will make the case they need to be sanctioned. as for trump, russia campaign ties -- i have no evidence personally that there are any, the fbill insist that begin than full opportunity to look into this without political interference. -- [applause] senator graham: ok, next question. >> [indiscernible] >> this question is from emily, chandler. emily, would you stand up? senator graham: i'm good. who is this person? >> emily chandler. emily chandler. senator graham: emily. hey, emily. all right, read the question. >> her question is given the
2016 south carolina presidential thoughtswhat are your on making sure all of donald trump's policies are implemented? will try toam: i help donald trump be as successful as possible. i agree with him mostly. i would like to get discussion moving again. though -- [jeering] i want to repeal and replace obamacare because i think -- [jeering] senator graham: i want to put judge gorsuch on the supreme court because i think he is qualified. reform taxes because we need to. i want to rebuild our military because it's broken. tell the keystone
pipeline to get off -- [jeering] so what have we learned? proudonservative, damn of it. i am going to help where i can. and the rest of you who voted for clinton -- [indiscernible] all right. >> this question is from westminster. senator graham: sit down. hey! >> this question is from polly roberts from westminster. polly, would you please stand up -- pauline, would you please stand up? need affordable health care. what would you do to make sure
middle-class people have affordable health care? the keygraham: that is question. who asked the question? >> pauline roberts. right here. senator graham: how many of you have medicare? whoa. all of you are on medicare? all right. at how many like it. all right, let's keep it. how about it? how many of you are below 65? below 65. .ou raise your hand twice how many of you have insurance or your company? how many of you like it? all right. how many of you have problems getting insurance? all right, here's the deal. there are three ways to get insurance. from the government -- medicare, medicaid, v.a. through your employer.
or as an individual. >> [indiscernible] right, exactly. what would i like to see happen? i would like to see medicare saved. i would like to make sure republicans can continue to offer you health care so it does not get so expensive they have to drop it. here is my problem with obamacare. we are down to one exchange, one health care company in south carolina, one. >> [indiscernible] has anybody in here lost their coverage from their employer? here is what i think is going to happen if we don't fix it. if we don't fix it, those of you who raise your hand that get your coverage for your company, they are going to drop it because it will be easier to pay the fine then it will be to cover you because the costs went up --
[shouting in audience] senator graham: how many of you would like to keep your company health care? how many of you want single-payer health coverage? [applause] then don't for over me because i think that is a lousy idea. -- then don't vote for me because i think that is a lousy idea. here is what we need to do. repeal and replace obamacare. employers are eventually going to drop coverage in every worker from a company will go into a state exchange. we are down to one company. one company. i tell you what. we are going to get kicked out in about 30 seconds if you do not shut up. because you are rude. because you are rude. all right. so -- get him out.
go.here we how many of you want competition when it comes to health care? how many of you are upset with the v.a. taking too long? no profit in health care? i don't want the whole country -- i don't want -- i don't want the whole country to be in ava system where you have to wait to get what the government gives you whenever they desire. that's not what i want. we are going to replace obamacare with more private sector health care because they provide health care all over south carolina. >> this question is from shelley stewart from greenville, it south carolina. doingks, what are you about law enforcement targeting of african-americans? [cheers and applause] senator graham: have you been targeted by the the eye? do you know anybody that has because they are black.
-- have you been targeted by the fbi? give me their names. i met with the fbi director yesterday. i have never had anybody come up to me in south carolina who is african-american and tell me they have been targeted by the fbi because of their color. i don't see that is a problem. [overlapping shouting] senator graham: all right. >> this is from -- lindsay.tion is from would you please stand up? overlapping shouting]
[chanting "let him speak"] senator graham: have you been targeted because you have been in african-american? >> [indiscernible] senator graham: [indiscernible] [overlapping shouting] sir, my name is trained thomas from greenville, south carolina. thank you for coming today. i believe that the question was about the police, not the fbi. the question is about african-americans being targeted by police. [cheers and applause] senator graham: the question is racial profiling. anyone know jim scott? him. not ask if you like he says he has been stopped
eight or 10 times by the capitol hill police. i have been up there 20 years and i have never been talked -- stopped by the police. i believe that is your points, is it? here is the deal with policing. we need to be sensitive to the fact that communities feel under siege. we need to be sensitive to the idea that cops feel under siege. and we need to find some orderly process to follow the law. but i have never been stopped. if you will just listen -- i have never been stopped because -- i am a short white guy -- [applause] the officersm: seem not to be stopping me. they do seem to be stopping him. let's talk about the cops per minute. i have been a prosecutor most of
my life. i have dealt with backups and there is nothing worse than a bad cop. cop.o not want a bad they have got a badge and a gun. there is nothing better than a good cop. is, i hopetom line we will take a harder look at this. i'm sorry -- i thought your question was about the fbi. -- try to dond to more community policing, better training for our police officers, spend a little bit of money making sure because you've got a young black guy walking around the neighborhood in the middle of the night does not mean they are a criminal. all right. from jasonstion is grid as a south carolina and i was heartened to hear you speak out against trump's regime ties and attacks on the press. when can we count on you to start putting these words into
action? i have graham: introduced legislation -- i am the chief author of legislation to punish the russians for interfering in our election, and my chief cosponsor is ben cardin from the state of maryland. that bill means to be voted on this year. i just got back from france and germany, and russia is all over their elections. what are they trying to do? the are trying to break backbone of democracy. putin is a thug, and people object to them -- they don't come to town halls and yell. they get shot. andle who disagree with him up with plutonium poisoning. i have never had a friend of mine die from plutonium poisoning. the duma, which is their equivalent to congress, is a complete joke. he has destroyed the independent media, and he has broken the
back of the independent judiciary. into the politics about two months ago with senator mccain. estonia -- the other baltic nation i cannot remember right the ukraineia, and are under siege by putin. here is what russia is trying to do. they are trying to break the back of nato, the european union. wherere trying to get it countries want to withdraw from nato and the eu. the five star has been very -- i think, supported. to punish thetion russians. here is what i predict will happen. that the congress, in a bipartisan fashion, will pass my bill to punish the russians for interfering in our election and trying to break the back of democracy all over the world. if we forgive and forget putin,
then he will keep doing it all over the world, and if we don't stop -- [indiscernible] is fromext question jamie shipley from seneca. please discuss your position on allowing pharmaceutical companies to claim a drug is safe and effective for use that has not been approved by the fda. --ese off label usages senator graham: that's a really good question. i'm not sure if i understand the answer to it. take drugs noto cleared by the fda. i would like the fda to be more efficient when they get these drugs to market. the more generic, the better, right? who asked that question? what is her name? >> janie shipley from seneca.
can i -- can i do something that you don't hear much off? let me get smarter and get back with you. next question is from -- defundes your bill to --help south carolina. i like beingm: part of the u.n. with israel is getting out of hand. here is what i believe about the fate of israel. it's the only democracy in the middle east. it is not without faults, but it is our ally and we should jealously guard the relationship with israel because the people who want to destroy her want to destroy you. 20 draft by the
united nations condemning the state of israel for its settlement policies and six against the world at large. i think that is nuts. i think that is disproportionate. i am not going to take anymore more of your tax dollars and give them to an organization that is getting more and isometric -- all right. >> the question is from emily chester. i am concerned about democracy. what is being done to ensure -- senator graham: i have been to iraq and afghanistan. do you remember september 10, 2001? you probably don't. it was the day before 9/11.
we did not have one soldier in afghanistan. we did not have an embassy. the world watched from the sidelines while women were drug to the soccer stadiums and shot if they showed a little too much ankle. taliban, jobs, the believe that any image was wrong, and we watched and did nothing about, well, that is over there or it it will come here or at what you did not offeredwas the taliban bin laden safe haven in afghanistan. the 9/11 and the rest is history. have i learned? what have i learned? that the people who attack us like al qaeda have a religious motivation, not because of palestine. it's because they have a warped view of islam. here is what i believe. you may be tired of fighting them. they are sure as hell not tired
of fighting you. here is my goal. keep the war over there so it does not come back here. you will never win this war. you will never win this war -- we will talk about this -- you will never win this war by killing terrorists. now you are talking about a guy -- to the republicans in the room, if you want to destroy radical islam, you better invest in the lives of others over there. because you can drop bombs all day long. i have lost good friends in this war. many of them afghan and iraqi policeman and lawyers and judges i worked with as a reservist. 40 times in the last decade, 140 days on the ground as an air force reservist. here is what i know will take to win this war. you have got to invest in those
lives of others. a gloriousoffering death, we have to offer a hopeful life. a small schoolhouse -- a small schoolhouse in a remote region of afghanistan, iraq, syria will do more damage in educating a dropping anyen bombs on their heads. so, here is what you're going to get from me about diplomacy. this budget being proposed by tosident trump, who i want help, cuts the state department by 30%. here is what i will tell you. if you want this war to go on forever, bomb them and leave. if you think you are going to be safe by dropping a bomb and coming back home, you will never be safe. here is what you have got to do in my opinion. you got to have some of our soldiers over there to protect the rest of us over here, but it is not about them killing
terrorists as much as helping build up police and army. value the do not lives of others over there, this war never ends. here is what winning looks like. when the people over there have police and armies loyal to them, not to the dictator. when the imams can preach against this radical form of islam and not get killed. when the politicians over there -- let's go to saudi arabia -- when a woman can drive over there, you are going to be safer over there. question is from salem. why can't the senate demand from releases taxes? and applause] senator graham: where is she at? where are you at?
ok. ump's tax returns. ok. tax returns. we can subpoena his tax returns. ers and applause] do thatgraham: i will when i believe there is a reason to do that. [jeering] -- i willaham: i will -- i have introduced -- [overlapping shouting] i have graham: introduced legislation to require anyone running for president in 2022 release their taxes. how many of you believe that benghazi was a much of bs? i thought so.
is from alisaon from greenville -- senator graham: i didn't know there were that many liberals. which is great. i'm glad you're here. you need to speak up more in south carolina. what will you do to protect affordable health care another programs for people with disabilities? if you areham: disabled, then you need to come to my office and you will get disability insurance through medicaid. ok. went.t know when you for the disabled -- for the disabled, you are eligible for says youif the judge are disabled. once you're 65, you're eligible for medicare, no matter if you are bill gates or my aunt who worked in the cotton mills. can we talk a little bit about medicare?
does anybody want to talk about medicare? the disabled have health insurance through medicaid, and the medicaid disability insurance program is just about to run out of money. can i tell you a little bit about what i think is the biggest financial problem for everybody in this room? in 1950, how many people pay taxes for every social security recipient? do you know? 16. today, there are three workers for every retiree. if you are retired, raise your hand. there are three people now paying into the system. in 20 years, there will be two. i can see this. messl be the guy's growing up. i'm not married and i don't have any kids. -- i will be the guy screwing this up. retirement ise of 65, right? medicare and 62 --
you can get early retirement. in 1935, the average person lived to be 65. today, we are living into our 80's. more people are living to be like strom thurmond than they used to. can tellne thing i you. if you don't get a bipartisan plan to save medicare and social security, they are going to fail, and we are going to become greece. like ronald reagan -- like ronald reagan -- ronald reagan and to bone meal -- tip o'neill adjusted the age of retirement that save social security. for those who believe you can social security by taxing we have unfunded liabilities of $70 trillion. if you took all of the money of the 1% in this country, that is
artie trillion dollars. -- $30 trillion. to my republican friends -- to my republican friends, to the republican friends who think you can grow the economy and close that $70 trillion gap, it is impossible. here is what happens. ?ou know simpson bowles we need to do something like that. we need to change the age of retirement for younger people. i make 100 75 thousand dollars. i'm not saying i am worth it. but that is what we get paid. here is what i think. i should pay more medicare then i am thank the day. i don't think i should be getting any subsidies from the government to pay my medicare premiums. and i will say that to anybody who makes $175,000. i am 61.
i will get social security when 66, i guess, now. i will give up whatever it takes for me to give up to make sure that people who need it more than i do get it. was born in central. anybody ever been to central. >> i live there! senator graham: that's good. when i was 21, i was living in central, going to carolina. first in my family to go to college. my mom was 52. she was diagnosed with hodgkin's disease. she died a year later and we were financially wiped out because we had insurance covering for people. 15 months later, my dad, who was 69, died. my sister was 13. i was 22. if it was not for in it and an uncle in central, carolina who worked in the cotton mill, i do not know what we would have done. we got a social security survivor benefit check, about
$300 that made the real difference for us. soon to be 62. what was promised to me by social security. when i was 22, i needed every penny. i have seen social security and both ends. if you want to save america, young people have to work longer , people will have to give up some, and i will. >> do you consider access to quality health care a right or a privilege? what will you do to protect to the games and health care that were made with the affordable care act? senator graham: i think every american should have access to health care. here is what i am against. , you gome you get sick to the emergency room and i have to pay the bill. that is called medicaid. i think medicaid is the most
broken bring in the world. here is what i want to do with medicaid. onant to get everyone medicaid into a private health care home, a managed care -- i don't what you to run to the emergency room. i want you to go to your doctor. elp pay thely h bill. if you are smoking, you need to pay more. the only way to provide more quality choices, you need to have more, not less. when it comes to medicaid, it is fee-for-service, which means it is about to bankrupt the state of south carolina. what i would do all over the country is take every medicaid patient, put them in a managed care environment, have the federal government have money to the states because they deliver that her health care. that is what i would do. the last thing i would do is take every patient in the country and let the federal government give them health care and manage health care. if you want to destroy health
care, go to these socialized medicine bottle. over my dead body. all right. from greer.tion is how can we ensure that all students receive a quality education? senator graham: great question. how many of you believe elections matter? >> barely! don't. graham: no, you you want the same policies even though you lost. it don't work that way. forthe last eight years -- the last eight years, we have had policies that i don't agree with, but obama had a right to enact. how many people went to public education? me, too. how may people believe public education will be better if you just throw more money at it? how many of you believe that
public education is never going to get better until it is shaken up? that is what i believe. i believe in charter schools. i believe in choice. i believe in school choice. , for failing schools. here is what i believe. everyone here that is billing went to a good school. you have no idea what it is like to go to -- everyone here that g when to a good school. you have no idea what it is like to go to a bad school. >> [indiscernible] on foreign aidea specifically for poverty reduction and -- [indiscernible] senator graham: we need a microphone. >> [indiscernible]
senator graham: hurry up, hurry up. time is running. >> [indiscernible] senator graham: for five years? ok. >> hi. i created the online petition today to get you here. [applause] i created the online petition that had over 5000 south carolina residents to get you here today. senator graham: oh. [cheers and applause] would like to thank you for coming. yeah, well, i: will see domi road. would like everyone here who is a south carolina resident to please stand. senator graham: good. all voters.
it to thed to bring people and the media that the people of south carolina are here, are represented, are showing up, are not from another state. applause]d senator graham: i agree with that. >> we are not paid! >> we are not paid protesters. senator graham: no. [applause] >> one of the reasons i am here today is to ask you about education. over the past several weeks, the people of south carolina have flooded your office with phone calls, emails, tweets, and in person office visits about the nomination of betsy devos. senator graham: right. [jeering] >> candidate so unqualified for position the vice president of
the united states had to cast the historic deciding vote. the people of south carolina wanted you to be the one who stood on your own and said no. [cheering] >> only one more vote was needed. my question to you is this, senator graham -- why would you vote for someone who wants to dismantle the public school vouchers tooviding those who want to attend private school while essentially dismantling the entire public school system in the process? the same system in which you yourself were educated. senator graham: all right. i got the question. >> south carolina has long suffered from a lack of investment in education. senator graham: all right. >> please explain to us how providing vouchers for private
schools with public funds will help students who need it the most? senator graham: great question. all right. here is what you need to realize. here is what you need to realize. ,hat i did go to public school but the vast majority of people believe withon't your approach to education where all you need is more money. here is what i think you need. i think you need funding -- if money -- right, if money could fix education, washington, d.c. would be the place you send your kids. spending per student really in the whole country is in washington, d.c. the most in demand program in is a charter.c. school admission where parents stay in mind for days to try to get one of those lottery numbers , inet their kids -- now
here at clemson -- i went to daniel high school, one of the best high schools in the state. here is what it is all about. schools andhose predominantly african-american counties in our state -- there are 11 of them -- where the education is not what those parents want, not what i want? here is the challenge. here is the challenge. the public education system is a great equalizer in america. it is one way a guy born in the back of a liquor store in central and growth to be a united states senator. you have a public education system that is free. what happens when that public school system for decades fails to produce the quality people need -- [overlapping shouting]
inator graham: here is what think. we need a combination -- we need a combination of alternatives when schools fail. no child left behind was an effort -- a public school that is not producing the quality you want your child, here is what i promise. where we need money, let's do money. where we need competition, let's to competition. and the goal for me is to change where it needsn to enrichwhere it is every young person of life and i would say in our state, we have got a ways to go. she did not give me a penny. i think i am the only republican she did not give a dime to. i thought she was qualified. and i don't -- [jeering] >> this question is from mark
foley. what is your position on foreign aid assistance, specifically for poverty reduction and international development programs? senator graham: all right. can we talk about -- we are going to keep control of this. no, we are going to -- ok. >> she has been a public education for 15 years or more in michigan. the schools are rated 46 -- senator graham: you don't think she's qualified? [jeering] senator graham: here is the way it works. here is the way it works. where are we at? ok. >> she has done the charter schools. senator graham: i gotcha. i gotcha. i thought she was qualified. all right. all right.
let's get back to foreign aid. think soniayou sotomayor was qualified to be on the supreme court? wait a minute. how many of you think sonia sotomayor was qualified to be on the supreme court? elenany of you think kagan was qualified to be on the supreme court? how many of you -- there we go. how many of you believe, how many of you believe that sonia sotomayor was qualified to be on the supreme court? [applause] many of you believe that elena kagan was qualified to be on the supreme court? how many of you believe that judge gorsuch is qualified to be on the supreme court? shouting]ng youtor graham: let me tell
about cabinet picks. i was the only republican on the judiciary committee to vote for sonia sotomayor and elena kagan beat out ofe crap me. can you hear me? you know why i got the crap beat out of me? because there were people in my party upset we lost and they did not obama to pick anyone a did not agree with. here is what i said. here is what i said. the system cannot work that way because there are consequences to losing an election. this president -- this president, obama -- this president obama earned the right to pick qualified people. i voted for every one of his cabinet nominees. hush. hush. his nominees? for i thought they were qualified, even though i would not have
picked any of them. wait ano, now, -- now -- minute, now. you lost an election, and you're acting like it doesn't matter. [jeering] senator graham: four and eight. aid.gn aid -- foreign i thought she was qualified. gorsuch is beyond qualified. how many of you want to eliminate foreign aid? raise your hand. how many of you want to eliminate foreign aid? all right. foreign aid is 1% of the federal budget. if you eliminated foreign aid, rand paul, in case you are listening, you do not balance the budget. have you heard of that far --
pepfar. about foreignas aid. i have answered the devos question. if you don't like it, you don't like it. this is important. get this foreign assistance to the national security in another form, you'll get a bunch of us killed. now here is the deal. pepfar was a program started by bush where we put $40 billion over 10 years into fighting aids in africa. i have been to africa about 5, 6 times in the last decade, and millions of young african children alive today because of the money you spent to eradicate aids -- if not eradicated, but it is almost done. all of those children are going to like you. all those children are going to have a good view of us and we did the right thing. when it comes to helping israel,
we give them $3.4 billion a year. fighthelps this country terrorism. it is money well spent. my view is foreign assistance, helping people over there is a form of national security, and i have tried to say it every way i know to say it. if you take diplomacy off the table, if we become fortress therea and we leave over hoping they will not follow us here, not only are they going to follow us here, they are going to kill a lot of us here. to stay safe ways is invest in the life of others and i am going to fight for this foreign aid budget because i believe in it as much as i believe in the military budget. from jim tion is from green book. i want you to the same as you have. [cheers and applause]
senator graham: how many people want the health care i have? well -- good. you need to join the air force and serve and you can get it. so. [laughs] congresss talk about and health care. remember when we passed the eve,care act on christmas it was jammed down our throats, as republicans? i decided to opt out of government-sponsored health care. just listen to me. listen to me. cause of this very question. listen. for this very question, i decided to opt out of the system congress allowed in virginia. so i came back home like the rest of you. a little short white guy from south carolina. into these south carolina
obamacare system. my deductible went from $750 to 6000 two hundred $50 in my premium quadrupled. and i'm still is healthy today as i was then. , obamacareline is for middle-class people who are driving up your costs, increasing your deductibles, they are taking to provide it for free for somebody else, and that health care. that's redistribution of income. i want to provide health care, not punish people who work. >> thisgraham: -- student is from susan from clemson. every day and environmental regulation is eliminated or a whole department is not funded. what can we do and what can you do? [applause] the first thing we have got to do is pass a budget. you can't run the government
without a budget, right? isthe president's budget going to increase military spending -- i'm all for that, but here is the problem -- [jeering] senator graham: let me tell you why i am all for that. how many of you depend on the military to keep you safe? how many of you are happy with the fact that 70% of the marine corps cannot fly because of training problems and spare parts? how many of you think it is ok to have the smallest army since 1940 because of insane budget cuts? how many of you think it is ok to have the smallest maybe since 1915 when the whole world is falling apart? support going to increased defense spending because we need it. the people defending us need it. when it comes to the environment
, the worst possible thing you can do, the worst possible thing you can do is increase the debt spending and take all of the money out of the other parts of the government. how many of you believe that climate change is real? applause]d senator graham: ok. i do, too. here is what i want to do. [applause] want to get as to a lower carbon economy without destroying the economy and i think we can. when it comes to environmental regulation, let me give you a good example of how far we have gone. a wet spot is being considered navigable waters under the obama administration clean water act. the all for going through environmental regulations and cleaning them up. some of them are just ridiculous. but i promise everyone in this
room, i believe climate change is real and i look for a bipartisan effort over time to lower carbon emissions and pass on a good, clean environment. >> the question is from sarah beetle from clinton. i'm a clemson grad student from is goingthe acl through my hometown. overrivatize the dapl farms that areor safer for my family? senator graham: are you talking about the keystone pipeline? is that what we are talking about? ok. all right. i am for building the pipeline. [jeering] i am going to: vote to build the pipeline. you know why i want to build the pipeline?
don'te -- because if you have the pipeline, you have to use oil trucks, and the likelihood of a spill from a truck is greater than a pipeline. but let me tell you this. some of you believe we could do without oil and gas. i'm not in that category. here is what i'm going to do. i am going to vote to expand the ability to buy oil and gas for our country, so we don't have to buy it -- [jeering] senator graham: so we don't have to buy it from people who hate our guts. i would rather buy oil from who is our cousin, then buy it from a bunch of people overseas who would kill us all if they could. here is what i am going to do. i am going to find a way to buy natural gas and oil from american [crowd yelling] i'm also going to invest in alternative energy to get us away from our dependence on
fossil fuels as quick as possible. if you don't see the need for both, you're living in a bubble. if you don't see the need to increase our military, you're living in a fantasy land. and if you think they're going to leave us alone over there by just turning our backs on over there, then you're setting up another 9/11. [crowd yelling] questioner: this question is from mary from grier. , the g.o.p. proposed health care replacement plan involves vouchers. doesn't that make it more difficult for the lower and middle class to afford adequate health care coverage? senator graham: yeah. [applause] can i give you a little secret? i don't even know what the g.o.p. plan is. [applause] [crowd yelling] let me tell you. did you all see rand paul on tv? you know, rand and i don't agree on much but he's right about this. what was our big knock on obamacare? they did it without any of us. somewhere hidden away.
i'm not going to -- let me tell my republican leaders who may be listening. don't give lindsey graham take it or leave it options. because i'll leave it. i want to be part of this. i want you to know what we're doing. [applause] i don't want to replace obamacare with a process that's just exactly like we passed it to begin with. i want you to understand why it should be better. and i want to take responsibility if it's not. i want to have a say about what we do with your health care. i believe obamacare is really designed to get the private sector out of the market and have a single payer health care through the back door. and i don't like that. [cheers and applause] i don't like that. i think it's a lousy idea. it's up to us. as republicans. to replace obamacare with something that's good for working people. and it's all about working people and it's about people who are disabled and the about people down on their luck. so here's the deal, folks. i promise you the following.
that there will be transparency. that you'll have a chance to understand what we're doing. i'm going to understand what i'm doing before i vote. here's the truth of the matter. most of you in here are liberal compared to most south carolinians. [crowd yelling] that's not a bad thing. that's not a bad thing. listen. listen. that's not a bad thing. [crowd yelling] you know what i like about me? if i went to a tea party meeting i'd get the same reaction. [laughter] as a matter of fact, i may not have made it this long in a tea party meeting. [laughter] so here's the deal. here's the deal. we're going to take a few more questions. but here's the deal about the country. here's what i'm trying to do. i'm trying to be as honest with you as i know how. health care, if we got a better idea, you need to know about it before we vote on it. you need to be able to call me and tell me, i don't like this.
as far as i know, there's no voucher component to it. so we owe you that. here's what i owe you. every time i vote for somebody you don't like, i believe i'm doing what's best for this president who deserves the ability to have his cabinet. [crowd yelling] whether you like it or not, i can tell you this, i tell you, i can tell you this -- [crowd yelling] i can tell you this, i can tell you this. i believe president obama deserved to have the cabinet that represented his views. and here's the one thing you get -- here's the one thing i'm trying to do. [crowd yelling] here's the one thing i'm trying to do. i'm trying to make sure, i'm trying to make sure that the system works after i'm dead. you know what's going to happen? you know what's going to happen? if we get into our camps, if we get into our camps, what we don't recognize, there are other people who disagree with us, and
when the election's over, the people who won it, if they can't have a chance to implement their view of why they ran, then the country's going to fail. [crowd yelling] last question. questioner: the question is from joan from taylor. where do you stand on russian interference which tends to be widespread in the current regime? where do you stand on russian interference which tends to be widespread in current regimes? [crowd yelling] senator graham: ok. we have a process and we're going to use that process. and the process was, we're going to randomly pick questions. i'm going to answer them and everybody that wrote a question's going to get an answer from me. and the question again was about russian interference. how many of you believe that if we give putin a pass, we'll regret it? [applause] me too. here's what i'd like -- here's my message to president trump.
here's my message to president trump. mr. president, mr. president. [crowd yelling] i'm not suggesting that you did not win the election. i am suggesting, mr. president, that russia interfered in our election. and i'm asking you as the commander in chief and the president of the united states to push back against russia. it was democrats today, it could be republicans tomorrow. mr. president, you're the leader of the free world. you're the protector of democracy. [crowd yelling] democracy is under siege from putin's russia. and let it be said, let it be said that the pushback against putin started with a senior senator from south carolina. [cheers and applause] questioner: this question is from ryan from anderson. even after making several promises to release his tax
returns, trump refuses to release them. despite being audited, nixon released his. do you believe as i do that he should release them? senator graham: i think if there's any campaign context -- contacts between the trump campaign and russia, then we'll cross that bridge at that time. [crowd yelling] i don't -- there's no law requiring him to do it. but i think the next presidential election, you should release your tax returns. questioner: the question is from robin from greenville. when will you stop aiding and abetting the enemies of the people with your stride comments about the president? [crowd yelling] senator graham: that's a good one. now who is that? stand up. [cheers and applause] hey! all right. let me -- we got a lot of press here today. let me tell you my view of the press. pain in the ass. but necessary. a free press is the first thing
you want to get rid of if you're an autocratic type person. all right? [crowd yelling] in russia, in russia, you would have been gone a long time ago. [laughter] but you got nothing to worry about. because i'm not listening to you. so here's the deal. [crowd yelling] here's the deal. i've got to introduce next week a press freedom shield law. i'm going to do it with all people, chuck schumer. we don't agree on much, but we agree on this. [cheers and applause] and the person who originally introduced it was mike pence. and what it does -- [crowd yelling] it protects reporters from having to reveal to the government their sources. [cheers and applause] now, so.
i am absolutely in the camp of a free press is essential to democracy. [cheers and applause] however, so our people, so our friends in the press, you're going nuts. you're acting like the party in opposition. you're acting like a lot of people out here who are so upset about trump. you have no idea what it takes to run a democracy. [crowd yelling] you're so upset. you're so bitter. that you can only see one side of the story. so to my friends in the press, if i were you, i would report the news and let us make up our own minds. every 30 seconds doesn't have to be a breathless take on trump. questioner: this question is from victoria from clemson. do you believe that president trump should release his tax returns? senator graham: yes, he should. i think he should.
here's the question. am i going to subpoena his tax returns? no, not without a reason. am i going to -- am i going to introduce legislation that will require anybody running for president in 2020 to release their tax returns? yes. [crowd yelling] questioner: the question is from ben. what is being done so that the future generations of americans can successfully run this country? senator graham: oh, boy. what a great question. what a great question. you know what, isn't that the ultimate question really? here's what i think needs to be done. i think democrats and republicans need to realize our common threats and our common values. here's what i think we need to realize. that medicare and social security, by 2042, are going to consume all the revenue that future generations -- that's absolutely the god's truth. [crowd yelling]
80 million baby boomers like me are going to retire in the next 20 years. we're down to two workers for every retiree. and it's going to break the back of medicare, social security, then you got medicaid. you're not going to tax your way to fix this problem. you are not going to grow the economy. i'm dying for a ronald reagan-tip o'neill moment. i'm dying where people can get together and find ways to fix problems. so here's what i want to do. to those of who you believe climate change is real, i'd like to be the republican who would reach out to a democrat to reach a lower carbon economy. increasing the ability to create jobs, not lessen them. i do want to pass on to the next generation clean air and clean water. let me tell you, let me tell you, in terms -- finally, to the next generation, who i'll never meet. here's what i want to have happen on my watch. when it's all said and done.
i want people to say that senator graham saw the threat from radical islam for what it was. existential but can be defeated and will be defeated. that he understood that you can't win the war through military force. that he had the foresight, even though it wasn't popular, to invest in the lives of others over there, even though we're broke here. to make sure that one day they can take this radical ideology and stomp it into the ground, that a young girl can be have a say about her child over there so we don't get attacked over here. here's what i hope they'll say. i hope they'll say that politics rose to the occasion. we're so divided, we're so bitter, we're so upset with the process so down on each other. but let me tell you. let me tell you this. as to future education opportunities in south carolina, they're not going to get bet we -- better with money, alone, but it sure as hell would help. as to those who are fighting
this war, as to those who are fighting this war, i'm going to do everything i can to make life easier for your families. i can't promise you'll never go to iraq and afghanistan again, you probably will. but we can all take better care of your families. to the veteran who has been hurt, to those who are disabled, we'll pay your bills because you deserve it. america, --eran veteran in america you don't , have to choose between the v.a. and nothing else. you can choose between the v.a. and any dr. and hospital you want and we'll pay the bill. to future generations, i hope you'll look back on a town hall meeting like this and say, that out of this came something good. questioner: this question is from ellen mcalpine from seneca. what to you plan on doing to protect the environment in the wake of the rollback of regular
-- of regulations? senator graham: i think we need environmental policy to address, number one, the clean water act, that the epa -- who created the e.p.a.? remember when boston harbor was on fire? one thing i tell you about south carolina, god dealt us a pretty good hand. the late joe cassidy, we put thousands of acres off to development. the a space in -- the ace basin. if you're not an environmentalist, then you're not a really good south carolinian. we've got a really good deal here. what i want to do is make sure that conservation is elevated, that conservation easements, we have more not less. where people are incentivized to take their private property and put in it public trusts. number two, i want to make sure we don't roll back clean air and clean water protection.
that keeps harmful pollutants like mercury and other things from going into the air. the bottom line is, the bottom line is, we want to ensure that we don't overregulate to the point that you can't create jobs unnecessarily to our farmers out there, we want to make sure we don't regulate pesticides to the point where we put you out of business but we also don't want pesticides getting streaming and hurting the ecosystem. here's my view. the e.p.a. under obama went way too far. butis the time to correct, to the republicans here, what is our environmental policy? what is the environmental policy of the republican party? so here's what i would urge to my republican friends. don't give an inch on caring about the environment. be for clean air and clean water. understand that climate change, man is contributing to it.
and over time it will hurt us all. come up with environmental policies that are better for business. you know, al gore made climate change a religion. i want to make it a problem to be solved. questioner: the question is from mary collins from mountain rest. in light of so many questions about russian connections, shouldn't trump's taxes be released? [applause] senator graham: all right. all right. here's what i think. i think most of the people in this room voted for hillary clinton or somebody other than trump. as a matter of fact -- and they're very upset. they're very upset. and they lost. and they can't get over the fact they lost. so that's why you have a lot of questions. now, but every american should
be asking about russia. every american should be concerned about russia. i've told you about 10 times that i'm very concerned about what they did in our election. i don't believe it's a 400-pound guy sitting on his bed. the russians did it and i want them to pay a price. about his tax returns. i've told you, i think he should release them. i'm not going to subpoena them unless i have a reason. and in 2020 everyone should release tax returns. but why so many questions? why so many questions? because people came here thinking that if you yell at me enough i'll stop being a conservative republican and i won't. some people came here believing that i'll never help trump because i say bad things about him, i will, but i'm still going to push back when i think he's
wrong. questioner: this question is from jeffrey aleberg from clemson. at what point do we need a bipartisan special committee for russia? senator graham: that's a really good question. ok. all right. can i give a little information here? this may be news for the news people back there. so there's two lanes here. what should congress do about russia? right? and what should the f.b.i. and other criminal investigative organizations do about allegations of a -- of illegal contact between the trump campaign and russia? here's what we should do. we should make sure the f.b.i., if they are investigating trump-russia ties, and i don't have any evidence of them, should be able to do it without hesitation or fear. ok. congress should be looking into all things russia. right now, we have the
intelligence committee looking at the role of the c.i.a. in terms of all things russia. i'm starting an investigate march 15, we'll have a hearing with senator whitehouse, who is my ranking member, we'll look , into thebi's role role russia played in the 2016 election. if i believe this thing is getting so complicated we need to put all the committees together and we may be getting close to that, where you have the intel committee, the judiciary committee and maybe finance if there are business connections, then we'll need a joint select committee to look at it holistcally. we'll see, we'll see how the current process works. as to the criminal part of it. i talked to the director of the f.b.i. yesterday. here's what i told him. the reason jeff sessions needed to recuse himself is, i've been saying this for weeks, i don't
see how anybody involved in the campaign could make a, you know, could be seen as giving fair advice to an investigator and could dispose of it. i love jeff sessions as a person but he to me -- i don't care if you like him or not. i didn't say you liked him, i like him. if you don't like him fine, he's my friend. so here's the deal. here's the deal. the deputy attorney general is coming up for confirmation tuesday. and the question for him is, can he impartially oversee an investigation, could he dispose of it you don't even know who he is. so here's the deal. he's recommended by the two democratic senators from the state of maryland. he's the attorney general of the state of maryland. mikulski, barbara mikulski the first woman senator in decades,
longest serving woman senator, says this guy is a good guy. here's what i'm going to do. if i think he's capable of doing it, i will. if i don't feel he's capable, i'll call for independent counsel. why? let me tell you why. we've got to get this right. i'll tell you what, i don't count on most of you wanting to get this right. you know why? you know why? you know why? you don't want to get it right, you just want to get trump. so -- ok. it may have been a horrible thing for me to say to you but here's what -- i believe that the emotions right now are so high, so high that if i went to a tea party event they wouldn't
want me to appoint anybody. i'm getting bombarded because i wanted jeff sessions recused. yes, sir. good question. investigation has been going on almost a year. questioner: what we're concerned about especially those of us who are independent, what we don't like is the fact that it's not aggressively being released to the public. senator graham: that's a really good question. can i repeat what he said? we got to end it in a minute. but this is really good.
he's worried that if you don't watch this, some of the evidence is going to go away. right? the other thing -- questioner: [inaudible] senator graham: i got you. so he's worry wed need a system to protect the evidence. ok. questioner: you are all republicans. dragging your feet on this senator graham: ok, i got you. i got you. i got you. ok. i got you. let me tell you the problem with this investigation. the reason you can't release a lot of the things that you want, look, the flynn transcripts, we've asked for them to be sent to the judiciary committee by the f.b.i. i want to see them myself.
most of this stuff that we're finding out, i can't tell you how we find it out, people would get killed. this is the problem here. a lot of this is classified. i'm having my first hearing in the public. i'll be the only member investigating russia that i know of that will have a public hearing. i'm trying to find a way to inform you about what's been going on for the last year to , convince you that i care about it and we're going to stay on it until i get to the bottom of it, without compromising confidential classified information. this is where the idea of a joint select committee becomes more relevant. you've got the c.i.a., who deals in the world of spooks. right. you've got the f.b.i. who has got a counterterrorism role and a traditional law enforcement role merged here. the one thing i want to be able to convince you of is i care about what happened in 2016 in our election.
and i hope i can convince you of that because i do. i think the russians did it. i think the russians are going to keep doing it. until they pay a price. ok. now, about how we can explain what happened. the tweet today by president trump was earth shattering to me. just think about that -- just think about what he claims. he claims -- he claims -- he claims that the former president illegally wiretapped his campaign. we need to get to the bottom of that, don't you agree? this is actually a good conversation.
[inaudible] senator graham: no, not -- ok. here's all i'm going to tell you. we have ability to monitor foreign agents throughout the world, including here at home. you can't monitor american citizens without a warrant. monitoring content. so all i'm going to say is that when i can find a way to release transcripts if they exist without compromising the sources and methods, i will do so because i'm tired of asking you to speculate about what somebody did. nobody should be accused of a crime in the paper and everybody find them guilty, but at the same time you need to know, is your government working? in terms of the flynn transcripts, i think it would be appropriate to release as much of that as we could so you could understand what flynn was saying to the ambassador.
as to trump campaign ties, before the election. i don't have any personal evidence that anything happened that was inappropriate, but if there's an investigation going on, and we'll know here pretty soon, it should go on and go wherever it takes. he's a republican president, i'm a republican senator, but this is about america. i promise you we're going to allow them to go wherever they need to go. so i've got to go. one more? one more. all right. heard from you. ok. ok. all right, ask your question. questioner: here's the question. can you hear me? is this on? i want to congratulate senator graham for coming here.
look at the other people, rubio don't want to go. where's jeff duncan? this guy came, ok. here's the question. here's the question. here's the question. and it's strictly hypothetical, ok. what would happen if hillary clinton were the president? this is hypothetical. this is hypothetical. ok. what would happen if hillary clinton was president does or -- and did one of the things that trump did or does. wouldn't you want to impeach her? senator graham: all right. thank you for coming. here's what i've learned. here's what i've learned. we need to give you more information about the republican alternative to obamacare. i think we're deficient there, right. all right.
we need to tell you much about the investigation as we can so you won't have to read about it in the paper and speculate on the news, right? we need to be as open about it as we can. it needs to go wherever it goes, there's nobody to reward, nobody to punish. got that. when it comes to russia, we need to hit them and hit them hard so they don't do it again. so here's my view about how to protect the nation. you need to strengthen the military but if you don't have soft power we're all going to regret it. i've tried to tell you bipartisanship is being lost if we don't regain it, i don't know how you fix medicare with just republicans working by themselves. i don't know how you save social security by yelling about it. so here's the last thought. i don't know what 2017 is going to wind up being like. but i'm worried. you know why i'm worried? i'm worried that democracy all over the world is under siege.
i'm worried that in france there's a movement because globalization is scaring people and i get it, life is changing so quick, that you have a leading candidate in france talking about withdrawing from the e.u., withdrawing from nato, that we're all afraid. i don't mind extreme vetting, but remember the young lady from clemson? ok. well here's what i'm saying. vetting from failed states makes sense. but throwing everybody in one pot because of their religion is dangerous. [applause] the only way we'll win this war is to partner with people in the faith. i'm going to leave you with some good news. after 40 trips to iraq and afghanistan, most fathers and mothers over there are not buying what isil and these nutjobs are selling.
believe it or not, they look different than us but they want for their kids the same things we want for ours. and we need to help them. the bottom line here is, i will be back, i'll come somewhere else here in the state, i'll keep you informed. i'm not here to try to convince you to agree with me. i'm trying to convince you that i'm doing the best that lindsey graham knows how when the country is so sideways and you know what? i think -- questioner: need to know, we are not upset because a republican won. we are upset -- \[inaudible] senator graham: all right. all right. this is a good way to end this.
all right. all right. [applause] senator graham: hey, ma'am. thank you. is that a good summary of it you know what i have been coming with some of you? i did not vote for trump there. [laughter] [applause] sen. graham: all right. for mcmullen. i would not know him if he walked on the stage. i was pretty hard on top and he was pretty hard on the right? -- and he was pretty hard on me, right? you, he beat me like a drum. he beat 16 very talented republicans. he beat the former first lady of
secretary of state. and you may not like some of his selections, but i am going to --p amanda won the election i am going to help the man who won the election and who is under siege internationally. i will honor the results of this election. theml duty bound to help where i can, say no when i must, and where -- and when it comes to russia, it goes wherever it goes. thank you very much. [applause] >> coming up in half an hour, minnesota senator amy klobuchar will kick off a discussion about conservative legal principles. she is a member of the judiciary committee which is scheduled to for them trump's pick
supreme court, neil gorsuch. we will take you there live eastern time. this weekend, vice president mike pence was an kentucky meeting with small business owners and one of his stops come he talked about a energy services company was introduced by kentucky governor matt bevin. [applause] gov. bevin: thank you very much. thanks for being here. he forgot to tell you that my first bycycle was red. no, i'm just kidding. we were going to go with the short version there. i'm not sure what happened , but thank you truly for being here. thank you for caring about this issue. ofnk you for being a part the american process. i will keep my comments brief. i want you to be able to hear from our vice president. the beautiful thing about meeting in a warehouse is there are things around you, so be careful. [laughter] gov. bevin: i will say this.