Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Monday accused "deep state" scientists of plotting against former President Donald Trump.
Graham made the remarks during a Greenville press conference that he had promoted as a platform to call for an investigation into whether the COVID-19 virus "came from a lab" in China.
"But first," Graham said, "I want to know, how did our government potentially get it so wrong?"
The senator then told a story about a "group of scientists" who had downplayed the theory as a right-wing talking point.
"Is there a deep state science department?" he asked. "Is the NIH and the State Department -- were people in those two organizations trying to tamp down the idea that it may have come from the lab because they support the lab?"
"There are people that did not want Trump to be right," Graham continued. "Trump suggested this may have come from a lab and he was called a xenophobic racist by suggesting it came from the lab in China. Well, some people just don't want Trump to ever be right and those same people are stakeholders in the grant program where their livelihood is on the line."
Graham asserted that there was a plot during the 2020 election to "blame everything on Trump and to marginalize his theory of the case."
He went on to rail against the "Russian dossier" that was part of an investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
"We had all of this information that the document collected by Christopher Steele was not reliable but people used it anyway," he complained. "They wanted an outcome. I think there is a storyline developing here that people wanted an outcome, they wanted to shoot down the idea that it could be a lab leak because Trump would have been right."
"So that's what I want to look at," Graham added. "I think part of the motivations were political, not scientific."