Republican Lindsey Graham hints at 2016 announcement

Graham Eyes May Presidential Announcement

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has said there is better than a 90 percent chance he will run for president, will give a "very important update" on Monday morning about 2016, according to media reports on Sunday.

The South Carolina lawmaker was quoted by MSNBC as telling supporters in an email: "As an announcement draws near, I need to know you stand with me." The Washington Post quoted him as saying in the email he would appear on the "CBS This Morning" program at 8 a.m. on Monday.

"Tomorrow morning I will be giving a very important update on my 2016 plans and I want to make sure you are able to hear it," the Washington Post quoted him as saying.

Graham is a prominent critic of President Barack Obama's foreign policy and a close ally of fellow Republican Senator John McCain.

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Republican Lindsey Graham hints at 2016 announcement
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, listens during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 Congress is putting Facebook, Twitter and Google under a public microscope about Russia's use of their networks to meddle in the 2016 election, a day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's criminal investigation disclosed its first indictments and guilty plea. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 11: Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talk after running into each other by chance in the Russell Senate Office Building on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference in Riga, Latvia, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 26: Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled 'Special Counsels and the Separation of Powers,' on September 26, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, center, and ranking member Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, right, arrive to a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 Congress is putting Facebook, Twitter and Google under a public microscope about Russia's use of their networks to meddle in the 2016 election, a day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's criminal investigation disclosed its first indictments and guilty plea. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a press conference about his resistance to the so-called "Skinny Repeal" of the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Senators sponsoring a last-ditch Obamacare repeal bill raced to save it from near-certain death Sunday, circulating a new version aimed at winning over several GOP holdouts. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - MARCH 21: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building, March 21, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (R) introduces Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (L) at a town hall meeting with employees at FN America gun manufacturers in Columbia, South Carolina February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) departs a military briefing for U.S. senators on the recent U.S. attack in Syria April 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a retaliatory strike yesterday in response to the use of chemical weapons by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) depart after the failure of the "skinny repeal" health care bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) rides on the Senate subway on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Senator John McCain (L) listens as Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference in Riga, Latvia December 28, 2016. Picture taken December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), left, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), right, meet with Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington March 21, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during the 2015 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum March 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. Prospective 2016 presidential candidates from both political parties participated in the presidential forum during the conference which hosted by the International Association of Fire Fighters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (L) meets with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (L), who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) head for the Senate Floor for a vote at the U.S. Capitol July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. GOP efforts to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were dealt setbacks when a mix of conservative and moderate Republican senators joined Democrats to oppose procedural measures on the bill. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., hold a news conference to discuss the bipartisan 'The Dream Act of 2017' in the Capitol on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (L) shakes hands with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (R) at the conclusion of a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing about Russian intereference in the 2016 election in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Before being fired by U.S. President Donald Trump, Yates had warned the White House about contacts between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russia that might make him vulnerable to blackmail. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to reporters as he arrives for the weekly Republican party caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Sen. Lindsey Graham, accompanied by Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Cheri Bustos, speaks at a press conference calling for an end to forced arbitration on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bob Corker (R-TN) speak after the Senate Budget Committee voted on the markup of the FY2018 Budget reconciliation legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), right, walk to the Capitol Building ahead of the party luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (R), flanked by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) (L), speaks about proposed legislation to deal with so-called "Dreamers," children of undocumented immigrant families who were covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
THE VIEW - Lindsey Graham is the guest today, Monday, January 8, 2018 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images) LINDSEY GRAHAM, SUNNY HOSTIN
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, speaks during a news conference after a Republican policy meeting luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Senate Republicans making one last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare have the daunting task of assembling 50 votes for an emotionally charged bill with limited details on how it would work, what it would cost and how it would affect health coverage -- all in 12 days. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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He was warmly received at the Iowa Republican Party's forum for 2016 White House hopefuls on Saturday in Des Moines with a mix of jokes and plain talk about America's national security.

"I'm thinking about running for president. You get a house and a car and a plane. It's a pretty good gig," he said.

While other Republicans in the 2016 field have made clear they would not have invaded Iraq given what is now known about U.S. intelligence failures, Graham offered a strong defense of then-President George W. Bush.

He said Bush acted based on intelligence at the time that said Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that he did the world a favor by toppling then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

If Graham enters the race, he would join fellow Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio among declared candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina and retired physician Ben Carson have also announced their candidacies.

Neither Graham nor his representative could immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Andrew Hay and Eric Walsh)

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