Senator Lindsey Graham has reportedly been the victim of two hoax calls from Russian pranksters who have suspected connections to the country’s intelligence services.
During a call in August, Graham reportedly believed that he was speaking to Turkey’s defense minister, when he was in fact speaking to Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov. The duo have become notorious in recent years for their cold calls to unwitting, high-profile Western politicians, which has led to some suspecting that they have received help from Russia.
The two also managed to reach Graham again a few days after the first call. During that second call, Graham says he met with Trump to discuss what the “defense minister” had told him. “We want a better relationship with Turkey. That’s exactly what he wants,” Graham said, referring to Trump and again telling Turkey to rethink S-400 purchases from Russia.
In addition, Graham discussed the U.S. case involving Reza Zarrab, who was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to 32 months in prison stemming partly from bribes he paid to Turkish bank officers.
“And this case involving the Turkish bank, he’s very sensitive to that,” Graham said of Trump. “The president wants to be helpful, within the limits of his power.”
Graham’s spokesperson has confirmed that he was the subject of the hoaxes.