Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference with fellow senators at the U.S. Capitol on March 10, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images
January 5, 2017 5:14 PM EST

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham cautioned President-elect Donald Trump not to “undermine” intelligence officials during a Senate hearing Thursday where legislators discussed Russia’s interference with the U.S. presidential election.

The Republican lawmaker issued the warning to Trump, who has challenged U.S. intelligence reports that say Russia meddled in the election to help Trump win the White House.

“I want to let the President-elect know that it’s OK to challenge the intel,” Graham said, according to the Cortez Journal. “You’re absolutely right to want to do so. But what I don’t want you to do is undermine those who are serving our nation in this arena until you’re absolutely sure they need to be undermined. And I think they need to be uplifted, not undermined.”

Trump was not in the room during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. On Tuesday, Trump suggested in a tweet that intelligence officials didn’t yet have enough evidence to support their claims. “The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” he wrote.

Graham also urged Trump to remember that the intelligence community serves to protect Americans. “If it were up to me, we would all live in peace. But Putin is up to no good and he better be stopped. And Mr. President-elect, when you listen to these people, you can be skeptical, but understand, they’re the best among us, and they’re trying to protect us,” he said, according to Newsmax.

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