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Donald Trump briefed his golfing buddy and political ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about plans to kill Iranian general Qassem Soleimani but did not brief Congress.

Graham discussed his access to information during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.

“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida, I appreciate being brought into the orbit,” said Graham, who played a round of golf with Trump on Tuesday.

Donald Trump briefed his golfing buddy and political ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about plans to kill Iranian general Qassem Soleimani but did not brief Congress.

Graham discussed his access to information during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.

“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida, I appreciate being brought into the orbit,” said Graham, who played a round of golf with Trump on Tuesday.

Graham also remarked that “I really appreciate President Trump letting the world know you cannot kill an American without impunity,” adding, “We will stand up for our people and that is absolutely an essential message.”

That description is at odds with Trump’s actions after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After it became clear that the Saudi Arabian regime had killed the reporter, Trump chose not to act or condemn the assault.

While Trump gave Graham a heads-up on the Soleimani strike, he did not do the same with congressional leaders.

“This action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted in a statement released Thursday night after news of the strike emerged.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also pointed out in a tweet that Congress had not authorized the attack.

On Fox, Graham was asked about Trump keeping the information from congressional leaders while giving his frequent golfing partner a heads-up.

“The last group of people you want to talk to about this is Democrats in Congress, Republicans in Congress,” Graham replied.

Graham is not a member of the “Gang of Eight,” the group of congressional leaders who traditionally receive briefings on national security matters from the executive branch.

He has played 14 rounds of golf with Trump, according to a count from the conservative Daily Mail, who noted that the “long list of outings make the South Carolina Republican by far Trump’s most frequent guest on the links.”

While he was a Trump critic before the 2016 election, Graham has been one of Trump’s most prominent defenders, even refusing to criticize Trump when he attacked the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who was reportedly close friends with Graham.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was forced to defend President Donald Trump's recent attacks on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, an unenviable task she nevertheless intentionally signed up for. She desperately tried to divert the attention back to Scarborough — without engaging in the president's conspiracy theorizing — but offered no credible defense of the president's conduct.

Trump has been spreading the debunked theory that Scarborough killed a staffer in 2001 while he was in Congress, even though it was determined she died of natural causes. The staffer's widower wrote a released a letter on Tuesday pleading with Twitter to take down the president's offensive tweets promoting the thoery. He said he was "angry," "frustrated," and "grieved" by the president's promotion of the harmful allegations. Trump is perverting his late wife's memory, he said, and he fears her niece and nephews will encounter these attacks.When asked about the letter, McEnany said she wasn't sure if the president had seen it. But she said their "hearts" are with the woman's family "at this time." It was a deeply ironic comment because the only particularly traumatizing thing about "this time" for the family is the president's attacks, which come nearly two decades after the woman's death.

McEnany refused to offer any explanation of Trump's comments and instead redirected reporters to a clip of Scarborough on Don Imus's radio show in 2003. In that show, Imus made a tasteless joke obliquely referring to the death, and Scarborough laughed at it briefly.

"Why is the president making these unfounded allegations?" asked ABC News' Jonathan Karl. "I mean, this is pretty nuts, isn't it? The president is accusing someone of possible murder. The family is pleading with the president to please stop unfounded conspiracy theories. Why is he doing it?""The president said this morning, this is not an original Trump thought. And it is not," she said, bringing up the Imus clip. But she made no mention of why the president is bringing up the issue 17 years later and with a much larger platform.

When pressed further on the president's conduct, she again diverted blame to Scarborough, saying his morning show unfairly criticizes the president. But again, she offered no substantive defense of Trump.

After McEnany had moved on, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor brought it up again: "Why won't the president give this widower peace and stop tweeting about the conspiracy theory involving his wife?"

McEnany said she had already answered the question, which she hadn't, and said the onus is on Scarborough to explain the Imus clip."The widower is talking specifically about the president!" Alcindor shot back. But McEnany called on Chanel Rion, with the aggressively pro-Trump outlet OAN, who changed the subject to conspiracy theories about the origins of the Russia investigation.

"Are you not going to answer that?" Alcindor called out, still trying to get a substantive response to her question, but Rion spoke over her.

At the end of the briefing, another reporter asked whether Trump was looking for any actual law enforcement steps be taken in response to his conspiracy theory. But McEnany had nothing to add, and simply told people to listen to the Imus clip again. As she hurried out of the briefing room, a reporter asked if Trump would stop promoting the theory — but she left without answering.

Watch the exchange about Klausutis, which begins at 48:45.