OTR Interviews

Sen. Lindsey Graham: We will override Obama's veto of bill requiring Congressional approval of Iran nuke deal

Report: Iran would be allowed to operate 6,000 enrichment centrifuges, international sanctions immediately eased under deal being worked on in Geneva between Tehran and six world powers

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 19, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Senate foreign relations committee gearing up to vote on a bill that would require Congressional approval of any nuclear agreement with Iran. President Obama is threatening to veto that bill.

Senator Lindsey Graham joins us.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Thank you very much. We are going to override his veto.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you get the votes?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. I think we'll have enough democrats that will say the following: Mr. President, you negotiate the deal, you are the Commander-in-Chief, and you are the president. When it comes to lifting congressional sanctions that we have created with 100 to nothing vote we are going to have a say before you lift those congressional sanctions.

VAN SUSTEREN: When this Corker Bill I think it's next week will be voted on.

GRAHAM: It may slip a little bit because they are asking until the end of the month to finish the framework agreement.

VAN SUSTEREN: What takes so long to write these things, really?

GRAHAM: When you are chasing the Iranians around and trying to get a deal at all costs.

VAN SUSTEREN: You mean the framework...

GRAHAM: The Iranians are dragging this out.

VAN SUSTEREN: But what impact does that have on your bill? All you want is your say. So, you should get your bill in, done...

GRAHAM: Democrats are saying the following we are going to allow them to the end of the month to negotiate a framework agreement then all bets are off.

VAN SUSTEREN: Okay. I still don't get like why you can't just get your bill done in the event that there is a deal struck.

GRAHAM: Democrats are saying that voting on a bill, even reviewing it after the fact would be disruptive. They bought in to what the president is saying. Here is the good news, at the end of March, all bets are off, Congress will take up legislation to review any deal with Iran before we relieve Congressional sanctions. Here is what the president needs to understand. If you go to the UN Security Council and try to bypass the Congress to get this deal approved by the UN Security Council but not come to your own Congress, then you are going to risk Congress cutting off money to the United Nations.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Okay. One of the thoughts is if he goes to the UN, and the UN Lifts all its sanctions but the US Still has its sanctions in place.

GRAHAM: We're marginalized.

VAN SUSTEREN: We are totally marginalized at that point.

GRAHAM: Here's the question, if we think it's a bad deal, one, not even guaranteeing we can look at it you can imagine a deal of this consequence and they don't want to share it with their own congress.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about sharing it with the American people.

GRAHAM: Sharing it with every other person in the Middle East. Here is the deal, if they try to go to the UN Security council and bypass us and leave us as the last guy standing, then they there will be a violent reaction against the United Nations, 22% of the funding for the United Nations comes from the American taxpayer and I'm in charge of that account. I'm not going to allow the United Nations to be used as a way to get around the United States congress for a deal that affects the very existence of Israel and our own national security. The worst possible outcome is for Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let me get this straight. So if President Obama bypasses congress.

GRAHAM: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Goes to the UN to get the UN to lift its sanctions.

GRAHAM: To marginalize the US Senate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you saying you have the authority and power Senator Lindsey graham to prevent the US from funding the United Nations.

GRAHAM: I'm saying that Senator Graham and others would view the UN's action as provocative marginalized to Congress and they would be risking the funding that they received from the American taxpayer.

VAN SUSTEREN: Risking is a lot different than saying they will.

GRAHAM: Here is what I would do. If the UN Did something that provocative, lift the sanctions before we ever got a chance to look at it in congress, if they go to the UN Security council and the US Security council lifts all sanctions before we ever get a chance to look at this deal, absolutely I would suspend funding the United Nations, because I don't think your money should go to an organization that irresponsible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have the authority, like; do you have the authority to do this yourself?

GRAHAM: No, I will have to get my colleagues to agree with me. I would introduce -- but I'm in charge of the count.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's what I mean you are in charge of the count.

GRAHAM: We write the checks. What I would do in that event is try to write into the bill that I'm in charge of suspension of aid to the -- funding to the United Nations if they do something that provocative.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any doubt in your mind that you would do everything you could to cut off funding to the UN If the president did that?

GRAHAM: There is zero doubt in mind because what it would do is set a precedent that would be dangerous for future congresses. And this deal, if this is a good deal I will vote for it. But I'm not going to be dealt out. They are about to make a mistake for the ages. In my view when he drew the red line in Syria and did nothing about it the Iranians are not taking him serious and we started with dismantling their program as the goal. Now we are locking in a program that can be broken out in a year. We have changed the goal. And Arabs and Israelis have one thing in common. They are not going to let the Iranians have a nuclear advantage over them. The president is about to start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if he doesn't watch it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you.

GRAHAM: Thank you.