‘Yesterday was about 11 hours of them telling us how bad their case was…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) In a fiery press conference prior to the third official day of impeachment proceedings in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, dismantled the claims by House Democrats that they were kept from making their full case due to President Donald Trump’s invocation of executive privilege.
Graham also called partisan journalists to the carpet for their double-standard in coverage and questioned their unsubstantiated claims that former Vice President Joe Biden‘s son Hunter did everything on the “up and up.”
Will be discussing the impeachment trial in just a few minutes with Senators Mike Braun and Steve Daines.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 22, 2020
Much of Trump’s best defense against the partisan articles of impeachment rest on the fact that he was justified in calling on Ukrainian officials to re-open an investigation into the Bidens which had been closed under duress during the Obama administration.
“Hunter Biden— if he’s got a decent lawyer at all, he will claim the 5th Amendment,” Graham said in response to a media question.
“Because you get $50,000 a month beginning in 2014 to do what?” Graham continued. “And when your company gets investigated by the Ukrainian prosecutor, the same day, you get on the phone to the State Department and your business partner meets with John Kerry?”
Graham was referencing discoveries made by journalists including The Hill‘s John Solomon based on open-records requests from the State Department.
Joe Biden, while acting in an official capacity overseeing the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, subsequently pressured Ukrainian officials to fire the investigating prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.
Democrats’ impeachment claims of “abuse of power” allege that Trump’s calls for the newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy to reopen the investigation were baseless. However, Graham called that narrative into question.
“This dismissal that Hunter Biden did everything on the up and up? I don’t know that he did everything on the up and up,” he said.
Joining Graham at the podium were Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and Mike Braun of Indiana.
The three senators criticized the House Democrats’ efforts to make the Senate complicit in its effort to undermine the institution of the presidency with a slapdash impeachment.
“Yesterday was about 11 hours of them telling us how bad their case was, in my view,” Graham said.
Daines said that Democrats’ request to introduce additional witnesses and alleged evidence in support of their case was like a student turning in a half-written essay.
“They have not done their complete homework,” he said.
Daines continued that the effort hearkened back to another moment when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., notoriously tried to railroad substantial legislation through the House.
“It reminded me of what Nancy Pelosi said back in 2008 of the Obamacare,” Daines said. “… They rushed this through the house, just get it over to the Senate, then we’ll find out what’s really in it, try to fix it there.”
The senators also dispelled Democrats’ efforts to normalize Trump’s impeachment by comparing it to past impeachments.
Daines pointed out that unlike the precedents involving presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, there were no crimes involved in Trump’s articles and no bipartisan support.
Graham—who was on the House Judiciary Committee during Clinton’s impeachment—noted that the use of an independent counsel then to prepare the case was similar to the previous use of special counsel Robert Mueller, which failed to yield any evidence of impeachable crimes committed by Trump.
Graham emphasized that he had supported those efforts, despite Trump’s objections.
“Working with my Democratic colleagues, I tried to give Mueller the space to do his job, and I told the president to his face, if it’s proven you worked with the Russians… that’s it for me and you,” Graham said.
But after the failure to dig up adequate dirt through that process, Graham said he would not be part of the current effort “to legitimize a process in the House that would destroy the presidency over time.”