By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) It’s hard to know what to make of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, these days.
While he plays the role of ardent defender of President Donald Trump, he’s also known for coming up short on pledges to get to the bottom of what really happened in “Spygate.”
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Still, he does have a knack of getting to the nub of issues, and he made some good points regarding the Garbage Party’s rush to impeach the president on the flimsiest of grounds during a Sunday interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business Network.
That said, there is another aspect to consider when it comes to the enigmatic Graham. As the consummate political insider, he would know how to play both sides of the aisle like a boss. But at the same time, by now — three years in — we also tend to believe that President Trump knows Graham, knows his mind, and knows his intentions, whatever they may be.
Here are some quotes from that interview, along with the broadcast clip below. Make of it what you will.
“Well, I said early on that I thought the first day, the House managers were articulate. They were prepared. They created a compelling narrative, a tapestry regarding process and substance. And I asked then publicly, will it withstand scrutiny? When it came to removing the president, their arguments became very political, very shrill,” Graham noted.
“While Adam Schiff did a good job of presenting the facts, and at times the law, when it came to removing the president, he has got to go right now, it was more of an audition for a future Senate run than it was compelling. But what happened yesterday, in two hours, the Senate — the president’s defense team destroyed the narrative created in 21 hours regarding process and substance,” he continued.
The Judiciary Committee chair then pointed out that the Democratic House managers told senators “that President Trump got a better deal from the House than Nixon or Clinton.”
“And here’s what the response was. Not so. They impeached president in 78 days, President Trump. Imagine 78 days to remove the president of the United States from office, nullify the 2016 election, take him off the ballot in 2020. Do you think 78 days is proper consideration of something this grave? Seventy-one of the 78 days, the president was denied the ability to call witnesses on his behalf, cross-examine witnesses, present evidence.”
“So the Nixon impeachment lasted for years. He went to the Supreme Court. The Clinton investigation lasted for four-and-a-half years. So the defense was able to tell the Senate that all the due process given Nixon and Clinton didn’t exist with Trump.”
“And then they — the most stunning of all arguments, they impeached the president of the United States in 78 days. Why? Because they wanted to get it over by Christmas. Why didn’t they pursue witness in the House? That would require court action. That would delay their goal of impeaching him before the election. I think that is devastating to the House managers.”
“Well, back to process, one last thing, if you contested a parking ticket it would probably take more than 78 days,” Graham correctly noted.
“So, on substance, they told us that the president was unconcerned about burden-sharing, that he wasn’t concerned about corruption, that the only reason he wanted the Ukrainians to look at the Bidens and look into 2016 election interference was for personal game.”
“They read the transcript for 21 hours selectively. In the transcript that the House managers never read to the Senate was an exchange between President Trump and the Ukrainian president, Zelensky, where President Trump was complaining about the Europeans not doing enough, and the president of the Ukraine agreed.”
“The president in the transcript from the Ukraine said to the president, Trump, you’re doing more than the Europeans. It shouldn’t be that way. I’m paraphrasing.”
“So the transcript was devastating to their case. Then the witnesses that they called in their case — they took snippets of hour-long testimony. And one thing for a young lawyer, if you want to use a piece of evidence from a deposition or a tape, make sure that other parts of the tape do not destroy the parts that you used.”
On the calling of witnesses, which Democrats claim they want:
“Well, if we seek witnesses, then we are going to throw the country into chaos.”
“We either stop the trial to go to court to allow the president to litigate executive privilege, or we destroy it ourselves.”
On the president’s future and a bit about how a politicized FBI and Justice Department were exposed:
“Here is what I think. I think he is going to get acquitted. Mueller came after him for two years. There was no there there. He was stronger after Mueller. He is going to get acquitted because this has been a railroad job by the House.”
“He is going to be stronger after impeachment than he was after Mueller. He is now the prohibitive favorite, in my view, to get reelected. And this is the boomerang party. Every time they go after Trump, it hurts them. They throw rocks at Trump, they get hit.”
“Mueller investigates Trump. What happens? The FBI and the Department of Justice falls apart. They try to accuse Trump of corruption in the Ukraine, and we find out that conflicts of interests by Joe Biden really stink.” — (H/T Sara Carter)
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