Sen. Lindsey Graham stepped up his loud protest of President Trump's treatment of Jeff Sessions, saying that it wasn't "going over well in the Senate" and that "there will be holy hell to pay" if the attorney general is fired.
Here's the South Carolina Republican's full quote to CNN, per Manu Raju and David Wright:
As a human being, I think he should show respect for Jeff Sessions as a person. Jeff Sessions was the most loyal supporter of Donald Trump. A rock-solid conservative. The reason I like him so much is I often disagree with him, but I'd never believe he was a man who lacks integrity or fair play. This effort to basically marginalize and humiliate the attorney general is not going over well in the Senate. I don't think it's going over well in the conservative world. If you believe Jeff Sessions should be fired, use the power you have and accept the consequences. I hope it stops. I'm 100% behind Jeff Sessions. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee sent a pretty chilling tweet yesterday. There will be no confirmation for a new attorney general in 2017. If Jeff Sessions is fired, there will be holy hell to pay. Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong.
Graham's vocal opposition signals the growing discord between the Republican members of the Senate — where Sessions served for 20 years — and Trump. Trump has publicly attacked the attorney general for the past week over Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and not investigate Hillary Clinton. Several GOP senators have supported Sessions in statements or interviews:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama
Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas
Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah
As Graham noted, Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday that the panel would not consider another attorney general nominee this year.
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