Lindsey Graham on Anti-Trump Impeachment Push: This Is ‘Kavanaugh All Over Again’

Republican senator said in no uncertain terms on Sunday, 'This smells — this seems like a political set-up' against the president

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Speaking on Sunday morning to anchor Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” on the Fox News Channel, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee — discussed the latest impeachment inquiry-connected action among House Democrats toward President Donald Trump. And he called out the Democratic side for its relentless and politically motivated push against the president.

“This smells,” said Graham of the whole endeavor. “This seems like a political set-up.”

His remarks came as the attorney for the first so-called “whistleblower” about Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukraine president is now saying his team represents “multiple whistleblowers.”

Trump also said he’s going to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday saying she should hold a House floor vote on this impeachment inquiry.

“One of the most democratic things you can do in a democracy is to have your elected representative vote on issues important to the country,” said Graham. “So it’s imperative that Democrats vote to open up articles of impeachment inquiry — not just talk about it. Don’t hide behind Nancy Pelosi,” added Graham.

“It’s very important that the House vote on whether or not we should go forward on impeachment. That’s the democratic way of doing business.”

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Related: Piling On: Second Anti-Trump ‘Whistleblower’ May Exist

Graham also noted that this has been “the most consequential two weeks of the 2020 election [period]. What happened in the last two weeks? [Former Vice President] Joe Biden, who is leaking oil — his campaign has just completely imploded,” said the GOP senator. “I think he’s probably done. He’s the biggest victim of the whistleblower complaint, because now we know that his son was receiving $50,000 a month from a Ukrainian gas company while Joe was in charge of the Ukrainian portfolio, and $1 billion-plus from a subsidiary of a China bank — based on what qualifications?”

“So I think this is a nightmare for the Biden campaign,” added Graham.

He also noted that recently, “Bernie Sanders ha[d] a heart attack. Nancy Pelosi is now trapped. She embarked on impeachment inquiry based on a transcript she hadn’t read. And here is what I would like Fox [News] or somebody to do. Go to every Republican and ask the question: ‘Do you believe the transcript itself is an impeachable offense? What the president said on the transcript — is that his impeachable offense?’ I think it’s ridiculous to say that the president did something wrong based on the phone call,” he added. “And I think everybody in the media should go to the Democrats and ask them, ‘Why aren’t you voting to open up an impeachment inquiry?'”

“It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks,” added Graham bluntly. “And the biggest beneficiary, quite frankly, has been [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren [of Massachusetts] and Donald Trump.”

Bartiromo asked him, “Hypothetically speaking, let’s say the House does vote to impeach President Trump. Where does the Senate fit in?”

“There’s two votes,” Graham explained. “You need a vote to open up an impeachment inquiry … Pelosi is opening up an inquiry by herself. Every Democratic member of the House needs to be on record: ‘Do you agree with Nancy Pelosi that the transcript is enough to impeach President Trump?’ Remember when Pelosi said that the transcript would show a quid pro quo? It doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with this phone call. It is OK for the president and others to look into corruption in the Ukraine.”

“We need a special counsel to look at whether or not the DNC [Democratic National Committee] was working with people inside the Ukraine,” he added. “And somebody needs to look at the Bidens and whether or not they violated the law outside of politics.”

“Is there any appetite for another special counsel here?” asked Bartiromo. “We just came off one with the Mueller probe.”

Related: 25 Most Incredible Reactions to Mueller Appearance Before Congress

“There needs to be … Everybody said Mueller would be an independent guy. And I think he was. And what happened? He cleared Trump. There was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And why do we know that? Because Mueller spent two years and $25 million looking at it. Has anybody looked at the DNC-Ukraine connection? No, they have not … Somebody needs to look at the Bidens regarding the Ukraine and China.”

The pair then discussed the potential second whistleblower against the president.

Said Graham pointedly, “Remember [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh. Remember Kavanaugh. It started with one complaint [against him during his nomination process] that wound up being unverifiable — a complaint against Judge Kavanaugh about a party that took place in high school 30 years ago, without any notice of where it happened and when it happened. And everybody described to be there said it didn’t happen.”

“And five more allegations came after that,” added Graham. “What did we learn in Kavanaugh? That they were coaching witnesses and they were piling on to try to create an impression that Judge Kavanaugh was a flawed human being … This is Kavanaugh all over again … If there is [a second whistleblower against Trump], are they within the intel community? And what is it about the intel community and Trump that is so off-base here? And did Schiff do with the whistleblower, the first one, what they did with Kavanaugh witnesses — coach them up?”

Bartiromo admitted that she, too, had “a similar thought last week, when we learned that after Adam Schiff said he never spoken to the whistleblower, then we learned that, no, actually, that wasn’t true, that, in fact, the whistleblower contacted his committee first,” she said. “And his staff or him did, in fact, meet. So, why that? I mean, was he coaching the whistleblower, the way we learned later that the Intel Committee and Adam Schiff and the Democrats spent some 30 hours with Christine Blasey Ford, before she made her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh?”

“Right,” responded Graham. “Well, you had a witness in Denver that they spent 30 hours with. You had a lot of effort … People who came forward against Kavanaugh, I think, were coached by lawyers who were out to get Trump. Now, Schiff is a witness.”

“Is it possible that this whistleblower was coached?” asked Bartiromo.

“I don’t know. That’s what I’m saying. You won’t know until you ask Schiff.”

“The bottom line here: It does remind me a lot of Kavanaugh. The media is breathless — yet another accusation,” said Lindsey Graham.

The California Democrat, added Graham, “made himself a witness. If he did, in fact, interview the whistleblower before the complaint was filed, then he becomes a witness. I want to know what was said originally — the bottom line. The bottom line here [is], it does remind me a lot of Kavanaugh. The media is breathless — yet another accusation.”

He added “So this smells. This seems like a political setup. And it reminds me of Kavanaugh all over again.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Trump administration over the Ukraine dealings. Pompeo told reporters that governments have a “duty to investigate” potential 2016 election interference, as Fox News reported — and he said the Obama administration did not do enough during its own time in power.

“This administration was incredibly focused on making sure that we worked with Ukraine in a way that was appropriate,” he told reporters while traveling in Athens, Greece.

“And it is not only appropriate but it is our duty to investigate if we think there was interference in the election of 2016,” he said.

The State Department missed a deadline on Friday to comply with a House Democratic subpoena to deliver documents related to dealings with Ukraine and Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Pompeo said the State department would do what the law requires it to do.

The House Oversight Committee late on Friday newly subpoenaed the White House; the Democratic heads of three House committees declared in a Friday letter that Trump “has chosen the path of defiance, obstruction, and cover-up” in response to the ongoing inquiry related to his July phone conversation with the Ukraine president.

The Ukraine president himself said he was never pressured to do anything.

On Friday Trump wrote on Twitter, “As president I have an obligation to end CORRUPTION, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries,” Trump tweeted.

“It is done all the time. This has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens. This does have to do with their corruption!”

Trump, specifically, would like to know how Hunter Biden — who knew little about the energy business and the country of Ukraine as a whole — ended up on Burisma’s board during the time his father was actively serving as vice president.

Biden himself admitted he put pressure on Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who had been looking into the company’s founder — though Democrats say his reason for doing this was concerns about corruption.

Biden proudly acknowledged on camera in January 2018 that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in critical U.S. aid if the prosecutor was not fired.

Here’s exactly what he said on camera during a Council on Foreign Relations event: “I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.’ I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in’ — I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.'”

“Well, son of a b****, he got fired,” Biden then finished that story in front of an appreciative crowd.

Hunter Biden, as a board member of Burisma, reportedly made $50,000 per month

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This article has been updated. 

meet the author

Maureen Mackey served as editor-in-chief and managing editor of LifeZette for nearly five years. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary.

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