Lindsey Graham: “Half of what Trump does is not okay”

Sen. Graham on Comey testimony
Sen. Graham on Comey testimony 06:29

Ahead of fired FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina said that while "half of what Trump does is not okay," he does not see evidence for obstruction of justice from the president.

"If you tried to convict him for being a bull in a china shop, crude and rude, you'd win," the senator said on "CBS This Morning." "A lot of this stuff troubles me, but it's not a crime," he added.

The Senate Intelligence Committee released Comey's opening statement at his request Wednesday afternoon, the day before his testimony.  The document reveals Comey counted nine meetings and phone calls with the president since early January.

"The story described by Comey is disturbing, it was inappropriate by the president to put him in this situation," Graham said of the details outlined in the FBI director's opening statement, released Wednesday.

Senators to watch at Comey hearing 03:19

In one of the meetings described in the document, Comey says that President Trump asked him to "let this go," referencing the FBI's investigation into  former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, confirming earlier reports of this information.

But in Graham's view, what Mr. Trump does not appear to be illegal. "There's no way that you'll ever convince me that the FBI director, the top of the legal chain, thought this was obstruction of justice, because if he had thought that he would have done something differently," Graham said.

Graham said that if Comey believed the president was guilty of obstruction of justice, he should have reported the alleged crimes to the Department of Justice.

"I don't see obstruction of justice, I don't see any collusion by Trump," he said.

Still, Graham encouraged the special counsel responsible for investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, lead by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, to "keep looking" and "find out what's out there."

"I've been suspicious about the Trump world and Russia financing, I have yet to see anything, let's keep looking," Graham said of Trump's potential business ties to Russia.

While Graham was firm in his belief that the president is not guilty of obstruction of justice regarding his interactions with Comey, he criticized Mr. Trump's response to Russia-related information.

"I think what bothers me the most about President Trump and Russia is his weak and naive response to Russia's interference in our election," the senator said. "The best thing he could do is push back against Putin and realize that 'the mess you're in, Mr. President, is caused by Putin's interference in our election,'" he added. 

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    Blair Guild is a politics reporter and video producer for CBS News Digital.