Fox News host accuses Lindsey Graham of 'working to reward the Chinese' amid coronavirus pandemic
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaking with attendees at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. (Gage Skidmore)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., defended himself against accusations that he was trying to add provisions to coronavirus relief legislation to help wealthy Chinese businessmen during a Thursday night appearance on Fox News.

Fox News host Sean Hannity confronted Graham about a Politico article, which reported that Graham had supported giving more green cards to wealthy foreign investors — most of them from China — through the upcoming legislation. Hannity asked Graham if he was "using the coronavirus recovery bills specifically to dramatically expand what is known as an EB-5 green card that would allow wealthy Chinese [to more easily obtain a green card] if they lend money or purchase or invest in the U.S."

Graham adamantly denied the accusation.

"Absolutely not. I haven't talked to anybody on the planet, much less the Trump administration, about putting EB-5 in the coronavirus bill," Graham told Hannity. "This is not the time or the place. The president supports the program. I do, too. We're not going to put a damn thing on this bill that doesn't protect you and your family from the virus and doesn't give you money that you desperately need."

Hannity asked Graham if the Politico story was an "outright falsehood." The South Carolina senator replied that he was not sure if the story came from Politico, but that it was "absolute garbage" regardless. (It came from Politico.)

Is there any reason to suspect that President Donald Trump will change his campaign platform from the 2016 race? Political analyst and MSNBC's host of "AM Joy," Joy Reid, suspects that Trump will stick to "playing the hits" when it comes to his 2020 presidential campaign. On "Salon Talks," Reid explained to SalonTV's Dean Obeidallah that "nothing is off the table" and nobody is willing to stand in Trump's way, so why fix what isn't broken?

"The Republican Party, they're either terrified of his base, or they love what he's doing. They're not going to stand in the way. So there's nothing really stopping him," Reid said. She explained how Attorney General William Barr has showed no remorse in defending Trump.

"What you can look for is for Donald Trump to repeat what works," she noted also pointing out Trump's "show biz" background as evidence for sticking to his anti-immigration platform. "He just threatened to have millions of immigrants rounded up for the delight of his fan base, just sheerly to delight them and to keep them on board."

Reid's new book, "The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story," details Trump's 2016 presidential campaign to now, describing all the chaos in between. And as someone who studied how Trump ran his 2016 campaign, Reid warned, "if you're undocumented, just be very, very vigilant because Donald Trump is going to use immigration again because it worked."

Watch the video above to hear Joy Reid further explain how Donald Trump's 2020 campaign will be more divisive than ever. And watch the full episode to hear her break down how Trump channels a "sense of victimization" in his base.

SalonTV host Dean Obeidallah is also the host of the daily national SiriusXM radio program, "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on the network's progressive political channel. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Immediately prior to the Hannity segment, Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused Graham of "working to reward the Chinese" amid the coronavirus pandemic by "passing out residency documents to rich Chinese, nearly all of whom by definition have ties to our enemies in the Chinese government."

He asked, "Why is he pushing it at the very moment that the threat we face from China has never been clearer or more imminent?"

Carlson also used his Thursday episode to criticize another Republican senator, Richard Burr of North Carolina. Financial disclosure forms revealed the senator sold off as much as $1.56 million in stock after being briefed about the upcoming pandemic.

"He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn't lose money," Carlson said. "And then he stayed silent. Now, maybe there's an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading."

He added, "There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis and that appears to be what happened."

This is not the first time that Carlson has opposed what he perceives to be financial corruption in the Republican Party. Speaking with Salon last year, Carlson said he felt as though President Donald Trump's tax bill "just sort of assumes that what's good for finance is good for America" and argued that Republican lawmakers need to realize that they "have a new constituency and it's people who are primarily wage earners and primarily — not low income, but lower income."

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