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Lindsey Graham faults Jeff Sessions for "zero-tolerance" policy

Graham on Trump-Sessions relationship

Sen. Lindsey Graham brought up the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy that resulted in separated families when asked if there is any substantive basis for firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Graham made the comments in an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host John Dickerson that airs Thursday.

Graham told some media outlets last week he believes the president may replace Sessions after the November midterm elections, following the president's repeated attacks on the nation's top law enforcement officer. 

In his interview with Dickerson, Graham said the problems between the president and Sessions "go well beyond" Sessions' recusal from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, and the president "needs a Cabinet he's confident in." Dickerson then asked if there is cause unrelated to the Mueller probe for firing Sessions. 

"I think you serve at the pleasure of the president," Graham said. 

But when Dickerson noted the president could fire a Cabinet member for any reason and asked if there is a substantive basis for firing Sessions, Graham brought up immigration. 

"I think the immigration issue was poorly handled. The zero-tolerance program, I don't know where that came from," Graham said. "And I think that sort of blindsided the president. The bottom line is, this relationship is not working, it's not good for the Department of Justice." 

Here is the exchange between Graham and Dickerson:

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: The problems between the White House and the president and Attorney General Sessions go well beyond the recusal. I hope they can repair these problems, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. The Department of Justice needs a voice-- that people in the White House will listen to, and the president needs a Cabinet he's confident in. None of that is inconsistent with Mueller doing his job, as far as I'm concerned.

JOHN DICKERSON: So you think the president has cause outside of the investigation to fire Jeff Sessions?

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I think you serve at the pleasure of the president.

JOHN DICKERSON:  But serving at the pleasure of the president means the president could fire you if he didn't like your haircut. I mean--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Truly.

JOHN DICKERSON: --Is there-- but do you think that-- is there a--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I think the immigra--

JOHN DICKERSON: --substantive basis-- I get--

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: --Yeah, I think the immigration issue was poorly handled. Zero tolerance program, I don't know where that came from. And I think that sort of-- sort of blindsided the president.

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