Graham has been reportedly lobbying the president against pardoning the men and women now facing federal charges for entering into the U.S. Capitol building unlawfully.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Graham explained that he is doing so because the federal government must make an example of the rioters.
“I don’t care if you went and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capitol, interrupted a joint session of Congress, you tried to intimidate, assault, you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong, I think it would destroy President Trump, and I hope we don’t go down that road,” Graham said.
Graham also defended Trump’s speech at the Jan. 6 rally, which has earned bipartisan condemnation.
“President Trump never said go into the Capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress,” Graham said. “That was the choice. They made and they need to live with that choice.”
There are “a lot of people urging” Trump to pardon the rioters, Graham said, urging Trump to resist their advice.
“Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time,” the senator began. “You’re the most important figure in the Republican Party. You can shape the direction of the party, keep your movement alive.”
More than 100 people have been arrested for participating in the riot, according to the FBI.
The Justice Department has also opened more than 170 case files related to the event.
The charges against these individuals vary.
“It’s time to move on,” Graham said, noting that there is evidence of voting irregularities in the 2020 presidential election, but not enough to change the fact that “the election is over.”