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Sen. Lindsey Graham Wants Democrats To Help Him Pass New AUMF For North Korea

Someone wants another blank check to use military force against the North Koreans.
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Sen. Linsdey Graham apparently believes Democrats have learned absolutely nothing since the Bush years and the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Graham made an appearance on this Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and told the host that he wants them to give Trump a blank check to start a war with North Korea if negotiations during this summit don't work out.

What could possibly go wrong?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you’ve spoken to the president several times about this summit. What’s your counsel? Is he ready? Does he know what he wants to get out of this meeting?

GRAHAM: Yes, I think he’s very much ready. I think what he’s going to convey to North Korea is he wants a peaceful resolution to the nuclear threat as well as to end the Korean war. But the goal is to eliminate their nuclear missile program, not contain it, do it in a win-win fashion. There’s three outcomes here. Peace, where we have a win-win solution, military force where they -- we devastate the North Korean regime and stop their program by force, or to capitulate like we’ve done in the past.

And Donald Trump is not going to capitulate, so there’s really only two options -- peace or war.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And -- and as you know, several of your Democratic colleagues in the Senate have sent the president a letter --

GRAHAM: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- designed, I guess, to stiffen his spine. Very tough letter saying that the outcome has to be complete denuclearization. no more testing, weapons dismantled. Here’s what they write. Any deal that explicitly or implicitly gives North Korea sanctions relief for anything other than verifiable performance of it’s obligation to dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenal is a bad deal. Do you agree?

GRAHAM: 100 percent. And I think they will be getting a call from the president. I wish they had sent a deal -- letter to President Obama regarding the Iranian nuclear efforts. But I embrace this letter. It is a very tough thing to accomplish. But here’s what I would say to my Democratic colleagues. I appreciate you telling the president what a good deal would look like, but the country needs you to back the president up to get that deal.

So here’s the question for my Democratic colleagues. If diplomacy fails, will you support my efforts to authorize the use of military force as a last resort to convince North Korea and China things are going to be different this time. A bipartisan AUMF would really make that letter much more credible. And if diplomacy fails as a last resort, Democrats and Republicans need to put the military option on the table or we’ll never get a good deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you’re ready to move forward on that, what would you need to see on Tuesday to prevent you from moving forward with that use of force authorization?

GRAHAM: We’ll know diplomatic failure when we see it. I don’t expect a deal next Tuesday. I expect the process to be started next Tuesday. Here’s what I expect, North Korea will try to run out the clock, if not -- if they have to give up their nuclear program, it’s how and when.

The how is a win/win peace agreement where they get security in return for giving up their program, when, I think president wants this to come to an end in his first term. They understand electoral politics in North Korea of the United States, they always try to run out a president in terms of the time on his watch.

That’s not going to happen here. So we’ll find out in about a year if this is going to work, and I have a AUMF already drafted, I hope I never have to use it, but if you want to convince North Korea and China that things are different with Trump, then the Congress needs to have his back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Senator Graham, as you know, the top expert in the United States on the North Korean nuclear weapons program says it’s going to take 15 years to fully dismantle that North Korean program.

GRAHAM: Yes, I -- what I’m saying here is that you’ll have a deal one way or the other in his first term that can be implemented in a way that we all believe. I don’t know how long it took them to get to where they’re at, I don’t think 15 years is on the table, but I don’t expect it to be done in one year.

But what I do expect to be done in a year from now is an agreement that does dismantle their nuclear weapons programs, their missiles, removes all plutonium and uranium, any time, any where inspections, and we’re not going to let them run out the clock again.

They talk about giving up, but they wind up building up. It’s as old as time itself as to what North Korea does. They promise a bunch of things, then they back out. Trump is going to call the question on North Korea while he’s president of the United States.

He’s not going to pass this onto the next president of the United States. There’s no reason they can’t give up their nuclear weapons programs within 15 years.

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