Lindsey Graham defies Trump: Readmitting Russia to the G-7 would be a 'mistake'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday warned against allowing Russia back into the Group of Seven countries as President Donald Trump has urged.

Readmitting Russia, which was expelled from what had been the Group of Eight in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea, would be a “mistake,” Graham said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“There’s no way I would ever agree to give [Russia] that legitimacy,” Graham said. “The Soviet Union may have fallen, but the evil it represents is alive and well in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia. He is no friend of the United States. He’s dismembering democracies everywhere and trying to do so in our own backyard.”

Trump on Friday called for Russia’s reinstatement during this weekend’s contentious meeting of the G-7, which consists of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

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“We have a world to run and the G-7, which used to be the G-8 ― they threw Russia out,” Trump told reporters Friday. “Russia should be in this meeting. They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

Trump’s comment was in line with his unusually friendly stance toward Russia, despite evidence that it interfered in the 2016 election to help him win the presidency.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said readmitting Russia to the G-7 was “not something that we are even remotely looking at at this time,” The Associated Press reported.

Along with the split over Russia, Trump’s trade policies sparked discord at the G-7 gathering. That dispute led to an exchange of attacks between Trump and Trudeau.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.