Now we know why Donald Trump took Lindsey Graham golfing this week (hint: Russia)

In the five days since Republican Senator Lindsey Graham curiously went golfing with Donald Trump in what appeared to have been a hastily arranged pairing, the media and the public have been seeking an explanation for what was behind it. We think we may have found it, and – not shockingly – it directly relates to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia scandal.

Back when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he had his administration release a statement aimed at justifying the firing. But days later Trump gave an interview to Lester Holt of NBC News, and he directly admitted that he fired Comey to try to make the Russia investigation go away – which represented obstruction of justice. Trump then kept incriminating himself through Twitter posts. A week after the firing, Lindsey Graham publicly stated that he had privately advised Trump to stop talking about it.

In fact Senator Graham acknowledged this while he was on NBC’s Meet The Press back in May of this year (link). Although it largely slipped past the public and the media at the time, Graham was acknowledging that he was a material witness to Trump’s obstruction. He called up Trump and privately discussed why Trump needed to stop publicly incriminating himself. Graham may have been well meaning, and there is nothing to suggest that he was in any way complicit in the firing or in Trump’s Russia scandal. But he’s damn sure a witness – and unlike the rest of us, Robert Mueller probably hasn’t overlooked that fact. It brings us back to Trump’s sudden decision to take Graham golfing.

We’ve all seen Donald Trump’s consistent pattern of trying to buddy up to witnesses and investigators in his Russia scandal, in the hope of convincing them to side with him. Lindsey Graham is too savvy to fall for that. In fact, if Mueller has tapped Graham as a witness, he would know better than to accept a sudden social invitation from Trump. That is, of course, unless Mueller advised Graham to go through with the golf game – in order to get Trump to run his mouth and further incriminate himself.

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