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Lindsey Graham Is Trump's Number One Flunky

Lindsey Graham along with many other republicans are making asses of themselves and their party to protect and appease Donald J. Trump. Graham has gone from calling Trump a jackass to kissing his ass.

Who Lindsey Graham was vs who Lindsey Graham  is. Lindsey Graham along with many other republicans are making asses of themselves and their party to protect and appease Donald J. Trump. Graham has gone from calling Trump a jackass to kissing his ass.

Giuliani's payroll company got a PPP loan from a Trump-friendly bank — but lists no employees. Was it fraud?
Roger Sollenberger

A payroll company owned by Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, took between $150,000 and $350,000 in taxpayer-backed emergency small business loans this spring. It's unclear what Giuliani did with the money. The loan reveals a previously unreported, 18-year-old company owned by Giuliani. A Salon investigation offers new insight into mechanisms of the former New York mayor and federal prosecutor's elaborate and purposefully obscure business, income and payment arrangements, which have reportedly been the subject of subpoenas from federal investigators in the Southern District of New York. Giuliani initially told Salon he was ignorant of the purpose of this company, which has handled payroll needs across more than 18 years and lists him as CEO. Financial experts tell Salon that one of two scenarios is likely true: Either Giuliani directly employs a number of people through this unknown company, and pays them substantial salaries, or the company misrepresented its finances to the government when it applied for the loan — which would likely constitute fraud, a felony. Independent journalist Wendy Siegelman appears to have been the first to report both the company and the loan. More...

By Jordain Carney

Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Friday released two recently declassified documents tied to the years-long Russia probe, including notes suggesting FBI officials were skeptical of reports in early 2017 of contact between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials. The documents — an annotated version of a New York Times story and a 57-page memo of an interview with a source for Christopher Steele, who compiled a controversial research dossier against then-candidate Trump — comes as Republicans are ramping up their Obama-era investigations. Graham, a top ally of Trump's, is investigating "Crossfire Hurricane," the FBI's investigation into Russia's election interference and the Trump campaign, and former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, which subsumed it. In one of the documents released by Graham, Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent, annotated a New York Times February 2017 article headlined "Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence." *** Mueller eyes Manafort meeting with Russian partner in 2016: court filing ***

By Roger Sollenberger, Salon

As the coronavirus pandemic spread and death tolls increased across the United States over the last three months, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., repeatedly raised the number of deaths he would find acceptable in defense of President Donald Trump’s botched response. The longtime senator, who now chairs the Judiciary Committee, has unexpectedly found himself in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, and Graham’s obsequious praise of Trump throughout the coronavirus pandemic might be to blame. Graham — who had to self-quarantine after he was exposed to the infection during a visit to Trump’s Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago — initially downplayed the new coronavirus, inaccurately comparing it, as Trump did, to the flu in a March 3 interview with Carolina Connection, a South Carolina TV station. Days later, however, Graham tried a new tack, lauding Trump as a “wartime president” on the president’s favorite morning show, “Fox & Friends.” Graham also blamed the media for overhyping the threat and covering the pandemic like “a series of plane crashes,” while himself comparing the pandemic to the September 11 attacks.

By Sky Palma

During a Thursday appearance on Fox & Friends, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) brought up Benghazi while defending President Trump over the recent bombshell report detailing Russian payments to the Taliban in exchange for their attacks on NATO troops. “Where were all these Democrats when Benghazi was on fire, when they were calling for help from the consulate?” Graham said, “The president of the United States Obama was briefed and went to bed and never called anybody for a day and a half while our people were being slaughtered in Benghazi. Where was the outrage then?” According to Graham, the “conflicting intelligence” regarding the Russian bounty story “does not justify a nation stage conflict with Russia.” Graham also defended Trump’s apparent lack of knowledge of the bounties, saying that you “don’t tell the president of the United States everything you would tell a second lieutenant.” Graham added that the way the story played out in the media is “all B.S.”

The bill "[mis]understands how encryption works. You can't create a backdoor just for 'good guys,'" one expert says
By Matthew Rozsa

Republican senators on Tuesday introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data (LAED) Act, a bill that if passed would require technology companies to allow law enforcement to access encrypted data in order to carry out their warrants. "Terrorists and criminals routinely use technology, whether smartphones, apps, or other means, to coordinate and communicate their daily activities," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement while introducing the legislation with his Republican colleagues, Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. After claiming that there have been terrorism cases and other incidents involving "serious criminal activity" in which law enforcement was hindered by not being able to access encrypted information, Graham accused technology companies of not honoring court orders.

Timothy Mellon called safety net programs "Slavery Redux." He is heir to one of the nation's oldest family fortunes
By Roger Sollenberger

A number of Republican candidates for Senate and Congress accepted recent campaign donations from Timothy Mellon, a GOP megadonor and heir to the Mellon family fortune, who used derogatory stereotypes to describe Black Americans in his 2015 autobiography. Mellon, the 77-year-old founder of a railway shipping company and scion of one of America's wealthiest industrial-age families, has given $40 million to three GOP super PACs and tens of thousands of dollars to various Republican candidates and their PACs, according to Federal Election Commission records. FEC records reveal that Mellon contributed to the current campaigns of Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Michigan GOP Senate candidate John James, as well as to current congressional campaigns and PACs supporting Reps. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., among others. Mellon wrote in his self-published memoir — "The Intriguing Story of Tim Mellon" — that Black people were "even more belligerent" after the civil rights movement, and that safety net programs amounted to "Slavery Redux." People on federal assistance, he wrote, were "slaves of a new Master, Uncle Sam."

By Tal Axelrod

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the Senate would work to confirm a Supreme Court nominee this year if a vacancy arises, saying the circumstances are different from 2016, when Republicans blocked then-President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted that both the Senate and the White House are held by Republicans, versus in 2016, when the GOP-held Senate denied Garland a hearing. “Well, Merrick Garland was a different situation. You had the president of one party nominating, and you had the Senate in the hands of the other party. A situation where you've got them both would be different. I don't want to speculate, but I think appointing judges is a high priority for me in 2020,” Graham said in an interview on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” set to air Sunday. "If you look into the history of the country, there had not been an occasion where somebody was confirmed in a presidential election year after primary started when you had divided government," he added. Senate Republicans have made confirming President Trump’s judicial nominees a top priority, sending his picks to federal judgeships at a record clip, something Trump often touts during his campaign rallies. Judicial nominations have become a chief partisan issue in the Senate in recent years. Democrats went “nuclear” to scrap the 60-vote filibuster for most judicial picks and all executive nominations, with Republicans nixing the same rule for Supreme Court picks in 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has largely steered the GOP’s efforts to confirm judges, has also said the Senate would consider nominations to the Supreme Court this year. "If you look into the history of the country, there had not been an occasion where somebody was confirmed in a presidential election year after primary started when you had divided government," he added. Senate Republicans have made confirming President Trump’s judicial nominees a top priority, sending his picks to federal judgeships at a record clip, something Trump often touts during his campaign rallies. Judicial nominations have become a chief partisan issue in the Senate in recent years. Democrats went “nuclear” to scrap the 60-vote filibuster for most judicial picks and all executive nominations, with Republicans nixing the same rule for Supreme Court picks in 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has largely steered the GOP’s efforts to confirm judges, has also said the Senate would consider nominations to the Supreme Court this year.

By Kayla Epstein

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday Congress would extend the additional $600 unemployment benefit provided in the coronavirus relief package past July only "over our dead bodies." His remarks came the day that the US passed 60,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus, by far the largest reported death toll in the world. The senator made the remarks while appearing on an April 29 panel for AccelerateSC, the coronavirus task force created by Gov. Henry McMaster to examine ways to revitalize the state's economy. He was joined by his fellow Republican senator from South Carolina, Tim Scott. "I promise you over our dead bodies will this get reauthorized," Graham said of his and Scott's opposition to government spending on unemployment. "We've got to stop this. You cannot turn on the economy until you get this aberration of the law of fixed." The coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in late March provided emergency benefits to Americans who had lost their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak. The law includes funds that grant people $600 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefits until July 25. Separately, the law also bolsters unemployment funds issued by individual states and makes more people eligible for the benefits. Under regular circumstances in South Carolina, unemployment insurance lasts up to 20 weeks, and the average weekly benefit amount is $236. The maximum benefit is $326. In South Carolina, people who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus through no fault of their own are eligible for all three types expanded unemployment benefits under the relief package.

By Ted Barrett and Clare Foran, CNN

Washington (CNN) Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Thursday that he opposes censuring Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer amid a controversy over comments the New York Democrat made about Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump, explained that his position on the issue is, in part, because Schumer walked back his remarks, but also because it could lead to Democrats attacking Trump. "I don't want to start censuring everybody," the South Carolina Republican said, later adding, "If we start censuring him, they're going to want to censure Trump, and this stuff never ends." Schumer, speaking at a rally of abortion rights supporters Wednesday at the Supreme Court, appeared to threaten Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, Trump's two Supreme Court nominees who were confirmed after bruising nomination fights. "I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions," Schumer said. Schumer went on to say, "The bottom line is very simple: we will stand with the American people. We will stand with American women. We will tell President Trump and Senate Republicans, who have stacked the court with right-wing ideologues, that you're gonna be gone in November and you will never be able to do what you're trying to do now, ever, ever again. You hear that over there on the far-right? You're gone in November." The remarks led to a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts. "Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous," Roberts said. A number of Republicans in Congress have criticized Schumer's remarks and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has introduced a resolution to censure Schumer.

By Katie Lobosco, CNN

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN)South Carolina is a red state, without question -- but that didn't stop one man from yelling out the rallying cry "Yes we can" at a recent gathering for Jaime Harrison, a Democrat who hopes to challenge longtime Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in the fall. About 200 people came out last week to Harrison's campaign event at Emmanuel Baptist Church of James Island in Charleston, where the smell of pluff mud -- a thick sludge from the state's coastal marshes -- hung in the air. Many in attendance were staunch Democrats, there to hear Harrison, a Yale-educated former aide to South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, talk about the dangers posed by President Donald Trump. The party's Senate primary isn't until June, but Harrison was focused on energizing voters heading into Saturday's presidential primary -- though he hasn't endorsed a candidate. Harrison raised nearly $3.6 million during the last three months of 2019, outraising most other Democratic Senate challengers with the exception of Arizona's Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and Amy McGrath, who is running a long-shot campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Graham raised even more that Harrison last quarter: almost $4 million. It was a record for a single quarter of fundraising in South Carolina, and Graham is now sitting on more than $10 million, far more than Harrison's $4.7 million. That's put their race on track to be the most expensive Senate campaign in South Carolina history, even though almost no one who watches South Carolina politics closely -- except maybe Harrison -- thinks it's possible that Graham will be unseated. South Carolina is a Republican stronghold, voting for the Republican candidate in 13 of the last 14 presidential elections. Trump won South Carolina by 14 points, and carried the independent vote. In 2014, Graham beat his most recent Democratic challenger by nearly 16 points. An NBC/Marist poll released earlier in the month put Graham ahead by 17 points. Harrison's hopes of narrowing that gap ride on whoever comes out the victor in the Democratic presidential race. Former Vice President Joe Biden was leading in the most recent poll, released by Monmouth University earlier in the week, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist who's emerged as the front-runner for the nomination, was polling second in South Carolina.

Senate Republicans criticized Trump for intervening in the case but rejected Democratic demands for an investigation.
By ANDREW DESIDERIO

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has little interest in investigating the Justice Department’s abrupt reversal on a sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone — rebuffing a Democratic demand sparked by President Donald Trump’s attacks on the federal prosecutors in the case. Graham, a staunch Trump ally, said Wednesday he did not intend to bring Attorney General William Barr in for testimony aside from the committee’s general oversight of the Justice Department. And while Senate Republicans broadly criticized Trump’s Twitter forays into the case, they said further investigation was not warranted — dismissing Democrats’ calls for congressional action over allegations of politically motivated favoritism. “I don’t think he should be commenting on cases in the system. I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Graham told reporters. “You want to let the legal process to move forward in the way it’s intended to,” added Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “The president weighs in on a lot of things. He tweeted about it I guess, so people perceived that as him having weighed in. But in the end, the Justice Department and lawyers over there need to do what they need to do to make sure justice is being served.” Trump appeared to confirm on Wednesday morning that Barr intervened in Stone’s case, writing on Twitter: “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.”

Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020

Federal prosecutors initially recommended a prison sentence of seven to nine years for Stone, a former Trump political adviser who was convicted of obstructing a congressional investigation, making false statements and tampering with witnesses. Hours after the sentencing recommendation was filed, Trump took to Twitter to slam the decision as “horrible and very unfair;” and the following morning, the Justice Department overruled the proposal, prompting the four prosecutors to withdraw from the case or resign from the Justice Department altogether.

Lindsey Graham has promised "investigations" of Trump's enemies for months: Now he'll be forced to deliver them
By Heather Digby Parton

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade last week "When I go to meet God at the pearly gates, I don't think he's going to ask me, 'Why didn't you convict Trump?'" He may be right about that, but only because he's likely to first be asked to explain what he did afterward. Graham has become Trump's instrument of revenge in the Senate, and he isn't making any bones about it. Appearing on Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News show on Saturday night, Graham made it clear that the president's impeachment for coercing a foreign government to smear his opponent isn't the end of that story. Team Trump is just bringing their bag of dirty tricks back home where partisan warriors in the U.S. government can get the job done right. Pirro asked Graham if we could expect the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees to take a look at the whistleblower and the Bidens and get to the bottom of this world-shaking conspiracy. Graham replied:

By Jonathan Chait

Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham appeared on Face the Nation and blurted out an apparent confession of what, if true, would be a scandal of Nixonian proportions. Graham reported he had spoken with Attorney General William Barr that morning. “The Department of Justice is receiving information coming out of the Ukraine from Rudy,” he reported, explaining that Barr “told me that they’ve created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it’s verified.” Graham explained why, in his opinion, this state of affairs is appropriate: “Rudy Giuliani is a well-known man. He’s a crime fighter. He’s loyal to the president. He’s a good lawyer.” On the contrary, he is describing an arrangement that is not only the appearance of a conflict of interest but a massive abuse on its face. First, Giuliani is not a government official. He is representing Donald Trump as an individual, a fact he has made perfectly clear. He boasted to the New York Times last May that he was seeking to uncover “information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.” The distinction between “will” and “may” was Rudy’s open acknowledgement that he was looking out for Trump, not the U.S. government, and that the interests of the two might not be the same. He was even more clear in a letter to Ukrainian President Zelensky, which his former partner, Lev Parnas, produced. The letter stated Giuliani was representing Trump “as a private citizen, not as President of the United States”: The second problem here is that Giuliani is not only representing a presidential candidate as his personal client. He is working in close contact with foreign partners who have a combination of personal interests and foreign-policy goals that do not line up with U.S. interests. He has not disclosed who is paying him for his work, but he was paid half a million dollars by Parnas, who was in turn paid by Dymtro Firtash, a Russian oligarch whose work tends to advance Russian foreign-policy interests. This raises the strong possibility that Giuliani is effectively a paid backchannel for Russian propaganda, and he now has a special line into the Department of Justice. Third, Giuliani himself is the reported subject of a criminal investigation. Two of his partners have already been arrested, and the Department of Justice is reportedly pursuing the possibility of charges against Giuliani as well. (He allegedly pursued his own profit-making scheme in Ukraine, and seems to have committed campaign finance violations, by funneling foreign donations to Republican allies.) Normally, people who are being investigated by the DOJ don’t have a special back channel that lets them feed allegations of their own to the attorney general. I am pretty sure that, if the DOJ opened up an investigation of me, and arrested two of my partners as they tried to leave the country with one-way tickets, I couldn’t just open up my own back channel to their boss.

CNN Newsroom

Retired Brigadier General Peter Zwack talks to CNN's Brooke Baldwin about Sen. Lindsey Graham's recent appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation." Source: CNN

Face the Nation

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a warning that "Russia is playing us all like a fiddle."

He wants to move forward with investigations without relying on sources from Ukraine and Russia.
By DAVID BEAVERS

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham addressed the president directly Sunday as he pledged to carefully investigate Joe Biden’s son. “If he's watching the show, here's what I would tell the president: I'm going to get to the bottom of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] process, because it was an abuse of power at the Department of Justice and the FBI,” the South Carolina Republican said on CBS‘ “Face the Nation.“ He added: “We'll make sure Hunter Biden's conflict of interest is explored, because it's legitimate.” Graham’s appearance on “Face the Nation” was preceded by a somewhat cryptic tweet from President Donald Trump. “DeFace the Nation will tell @LindseyGrahamSC that he must start up Judiciary and not stop until the job is done. Clean up D.C. now, last chance!” Trump tweeted Sunday morning as the show was starting. “Here's what I want to tell the president: I'm not going to be the Republican Christopher Steele. So, Rudy Giuliani last night said he's got the goods on Hunter Biden,” Graham said Sunday. “I called the attorney general this morning, and Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intel Committee, and they told me take very cautiously anything coming out of the Ukraine against anybody.”

By Daniel Politi

Republicans are getting ready to flip the tables and launch their own investigations after the Senate acquits President Donald Trump. Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that the Senate Intelligence Committee will call the whistleblower whose complaint ended up launching the impeachment inquiry against Trump while the Foreign Relations Committee will investigate Joe Biden. “The Senate Intel committee under Richard Burr has told us that we will call the whistleblower,” Graham said on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. “Why is it important? I want to know how all this crap started.” Graham went on to say that he wants to know what ties the whistleblower who first raised a red flag regarding Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has with Democrats. “If the whistleblower is a former employee of, associate of, Joe Biden, I think that would be important. If the whistleblower was working with people on Schiff’s staff that wanted to take Trump down a year and a half ago, I think that would be important. If the Schiff staff people helped write the complaint, that would be important. We’re going to get to the bottom of all of this to make sure this never happens again,” Graham said. - Republicans are the party of hypocrites, Republicans are ready to impeach Biden but refused to impeach Trump even while saying Trump did it and that the Democrats proved their case against Donald J. Trump.

By James Walker

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham was "in the loop" about efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine, Lev Parnas claimed in an interview on Wednesday. The indicted former associate of Rudy Giuliani told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° that the South Carolina Republican was "in the loop just like everyone else," and claimed to have "a lot of information about his dealings." But Parnas also said he did not know if Graham was "deeply involved" and clarified that he had not been in direct contact with the senator. The Florida businessman's claims came after his lawyer Joseph Bondy told the Daily Beast Giuliani showed Parnas a letter, allegedly given to Sen. Graham, that urged for sanctions to be levied against Ukrainian officials—including an official who ran the company where Hunter Biden served as a board member.

Republicans appeared unmoved by Democrats’ arguments for Trump’s removal and reiterated that the Senate shouldn’t seek new evidence.
By MARIANNE LEVINE

Senate Republicans on Sunday defended President Donald Trump and panned calls for witnesses in addition to those who testified during the House impeachment inquiry, ahead of the start of the second week of the impeachment trial. In interviews on major networks, Republicans appeared unmoved by House Democrats’ opening arguments for Trump’s removal and reiterated that the Senate should not seek new evidence.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a strong Trump ally, warned on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo” that calling in witnesses would create only more havoc. “What do we do?” Graham said. “Delay the trial so the president can go to court? Or do we as the Senate destroy the president’s ability to go to court — a bad spot to be in in the Senate ... If we seek witnesses, then we’re going to throw the country into chaos.”

House impeachment managers and Senate Democrats have made repeated calls for the chamber to subpoena witnesses, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, as well as documents related to the administration’s hold on aid to Ukraine. The White House has repeatedly blocked witnesses from testifying. But most Senate Republicans argue that they should have to evaluate only the evidence the House used to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.

"If we seek witnesses, then we’re going to throw the country into chaos."

- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Washington (CNN) Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he was briefed about the US strike that killed Iran Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, while senior Democratic congressional members were kept in the dark ahead of the attack. "I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida," Graham said on Fox News Friday morning. "I appreciate being brought into the orbit."

Graham spent multiple days with President Donald Trump at his Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, earlier this week, tweeting on Tuesday that he had a meeting with Trump "regarding the situation in Iraq." It is not clear if Graham was briefed on the strike during that meeting. "When the President brought it up to me, I was taken aback," Graham told "Fox and Friends" on Friday. "I'm worried about the stability of the Iraqi government today. I have no idea how they are going to respond."

CNN

CNN's Becky Anderson asks Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about his views on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

"Rudy, if you want to come and tell us what you found, I'll be glad to talk to you,” Lindsey Graham says.
By BURGESS EVERETT

Sen. Lindsey Graham is inviting Rudy Giuliani to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his recent trip to Ukraine.

In an interview airing on “Face the Nation“ Sunday, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said that Giuliani, who is serving as the president’s personal attorney, could appear before his committee separately from the impending Senate impeachment trial.

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN)Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a close ally of President Donald Trump, said he will do everything in his power to quickly end an expected impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate. "This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly," the South Carolina Republican said Saturday during an interview with CNN International's Becky Anderson at the Doha Forum in Qatar.

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved two articles of impeachment against the President, paving the way for a final vote on the House floor expected next week. That will set up the Senate trial, for which lawmakers are now gearing up. Asked if it was appropriate for him to be voicing his opinion before impeachment reaches the Senate, Graham replied, "Well, I must think so because I'm doing it."

"I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here," Graham said, adding, "What I see coming, happening today is just a partisan nonsense." In his opening remarks at the forum, Graham predicted the impeachment process would be over around mid-January.

By Phil Mattingly and Chandelis Duster, CNN

Washington (CNN)Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday said he is "1,000% confident" that Russia, not Ukraine, meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, breaking from President Donald Trump and others in his party who have pushed the discredited conspiracy theory.

"It was the Russians. I'm 1,000% confident that the hack of the DNC was by Russian operatives, no one else," the South Carolina senator told reporters on Capitol Hill. He reiterated his stance to CNN saying, "I've got no doubt that it was the Russians who stole the DNC emails. It wasn't Ukraine. Russia was behind the stolen DNC emails and (John) Podesta and all that good stuff."

Graham continued later in the same interview: "So as to the Ukraine, they had zero to do with the hacking of the DNC and the stealing of the emails. Whether or not people from the Ukraine met with DNC operatives, I don't know. All I've seen is press reports that no one has validated." His comments come as the impeachment probe into Trump and Ukraine moves into the next phase. The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released its report detailing how the President sought political gain through his dealings with Ukraine. The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

By Jordain Carney

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wants the State Department to hand over any documents tied to the Bidens and Ukraine. Graham sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the documents "to assist in answering questions regarding allegations that Vice President [Joe] Biden played a role in the termination of Prosecutor General [Viktor] Shokin in an effort to end the investigation of the company employing his son."

Under Graham's request, he wants the State Department to hand over any documents tied to calls between the former vice president and former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, including if Biden brought up an investigation into Burisma, the company where his son, Hunter Biden, was on the board. Graham also wants any documents related to a meeting between Devon Archer, Hunter Biden's business partner, and then-Secretary of State John Kerry. Graham's request comes as he, President Trump and other GOP lawmakers have homed in on Hunter Biden as they've sought to push back against the House impeachment inquiry, which is investigating the president's actions toward Ukraine. Full Story

By Jordain Carney

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) blocked a resolution on Wednesday that would have formally recognized the Ottoman Empire's genocide against the Armenian people. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) asked for consent to pass the resolution that would have provided "official recognition and remembrance" of the Armenian genocide. "The United States foreign policy must reflect an honest accounting of human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. We cannot turn our backs on the Armenian victims of genocide," he said.

Menendez noted that he listened to President Trump's press conference Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish president scolded a House-passed resolution recognizing the genocide and instead promised to "establish a history commission." Graham objected to passing the resolution in the Senate, saying senators shouldn't "sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it." Under the Senate's rules, any one senator can ask for consent to pass a bill or resolution, but any one senator can block it. Graham's objection came hours after he took part in a White House meeting with Trump, Erdoğan and a group of GOP senators. Full Story

CNN - CNN's Jake Tapper examines the political evolution of Sen. Lindsey Graham as his messages surrounding impeachment and President Donald Trump change. Video

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) - Defending President Donald Trump's oft-repeated claims that there was no quid pro quo in his relationship with Ukraine becomes more difficult by the day. Which forces Republicans to bend over backward -- and crush logic -- to do so. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whose transformation from Trump critic to Trump confidant is one of the most remarkable things I have ever witnessed in politics, may have set the bar impossibly high Wednesday with his defense of Trump (and the broader administration) on charges of a quid pro quo.

Take it away, Lindsey!
"What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent, it depends on who you talk to, they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo, so no I find the whole process to be a sham and I'm not going to legitimize it." OK, OK. So what we have here is this argument: The Trump White House is so disorganized that they couldn't possibly have quid pro quo'ed it! They are too incompetent! So therefore, this whole thing is a sham! (Sidebar: We heard this same argument from Republicans privately during the Mueller probe into Russia. The Trump campaign was too disorganized to collude!)

Here's the problem for Graham: We now know, thanks to US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland's, uh, memory recovery that he told a top Ukrainian government official in September that US military aid was likely being held up due to the fact that an official announcement launching an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden had not yet been made.

And that comes within weeks of acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney telling reporters that, yes, a desire to see Ukraine announce an investigation into the 2016 election was a reason why $400 million in American military aid was being withheld. "We do that all the time with foreign policy," Mulvaney said. "Get over it." So whether or not Trump made the quid pro quo explicit in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- and any neutral reading of that rough transcript suggests he came very close -- it's clear that by earlier this fall, the Ukrainians knew the deal: Open the required investigations or don't get the money. (The money was finally released on September 11.) Full Story

By Tal Axelrod

Former GOP Rep. David Jolly (Fla.) tore into congressional Republicans over their defenses of President Trump against Democrats’ impeachment investigation, saying they “look like fools.” "What we’re seeing from House Republicans, frankly, is this childish behavior," he said on MSNBC on Saturday. "They’re displaying an arrogance, an anger, an immaturity — they look like fools." Republicans have railed against the House’s impeachment probe, with many saying the investigation is illegitimate since there has not yet been an official vote to start an inquiry. However, they have also stayed relatively tight-lipped as to whether it was appropriate for Trump to ask Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a request that is at the heart of the probe.

"What Republicans should be doing ... and I struggle with even saying this because they’re on the wrong side of history and I hate to give them counsel that I think is accurate. Stop arguing about the process. Stop doing the sit-ins. Stop doing the stupid stuff that is not believable," Jolly said. "Frankly, the American people don’t care about the process." “From [Sen.] Lindsey Graham’s [R-S.C.] stupidity to [Rep.] Matt Gaetz’s [R-Fla.] stupidity, get that to a concise argument,” he added, saying the focus should not be on the process but instead on some defense that says Trump’s behavior is unimpeachable. Full Story

By Shane Croucher

Sen. Lindsey Graham's resolution to the Senate condemning the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has "absolutely no substance," said a constitutional scholar, and is full of "phony objections." The resolution brought by the South Carolina Republican is co-signed at the time of writing by 46 of his party colleagues in the Senate. It accuses House Democrats of a lack of due process and transparency in their impeachment inquiry. Among the resolution's complaints are that the House has not voted to open the impeachment inquiry, that witnesses so far have given closed-door testimonies, and that Trump is being denied his rights to defend himself against the allegations emerging from the process. Trump's White House is refusing to engage with the impeachment inquiry because it argues the president is denied due process. It is not complying with congressional subpoenas and has instructed administration officials and those associated with Trump to do the same.

"Senator Graham's resolution has absolutely no substance," Laurence Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and professor of constitutional law at Harvard, and a prominent critic of Trump, told Newsweek. "I looked at it carefully to see if any of its process complaints made sense historically, legally, or morally. I could find nothing in it worthy of being taken seriously. "And the fact that it focuses entirely on phony objections to a completely fair and traditional process speaks volumes about how little the Republican senators have to say in defense of what the president has done in shaking down a vulnerable ally for his own personal benefit." Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale, told Newsweek that Graham's resolution is "a legally ignorant red herring." "Even if this style of proceeding were not all authorized by the House rules the Republicans themselves adopted to run the Benghazi hearings, the due process protections Graham wants only attach at the Senate impeachment trial, not at the charging stage in the House, which more closely resembles a more private grand jury proceeding," Koh said. "At the charging stage, private proceedings are warranted so that witnesses don't compare and align stories through public testimony (although the information that is emerging is remarkably consistent).

"And everyone knows that the information being gathered will be public in a matter of weeks anyway, when POTUS and his people will have ample opportunity to rebut." Frank Bowman, Floyd R. Gibson Missouri Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Missouri, told Newsweek the Republican complaints about the House impeachment inquiry are "without merit." Bowman said it is not true that it isn't a valid impeachment inquiry without a resolution by the full House. He also said it is not true that the inquiry is being conducted in secret. "As has been reported ad nauseum, the committees conducting the (currently) private depositions have over 40 Republican members, all of whom are entitled to be present and to ask questions," Bowman told Newsweek. "Likewise, all these committees have Republican staffs, who are also entitled to be present and assist Republican members in asking questions." Full Story

Cuomo Prime Time - CNN's Chris Cuomo breaks down Sen. Lindsey Graham's role in the Clinton impeachment, and its stark contrast to his recent comments regarding the impeachment inquiry for President Trump. more...

Erin Burnett Out Front - CNN's Erin Burnett calls out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) over his contradicting statements regarding impeachment proceedings. more...
By Steve Benen

Yesterday was not the finest day in the career of South Carolina’s senior U.S. senator. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Thursday introduced a resolution backed by more than 40 GOP senators excoriating House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, accusing Democrats of violating due process for interviewing key witnesses behind closed doors. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced the five-page resolution that includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a co-sponsor on Thursday afternoon.

Reflecting on Graham’s antics, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank asked, “Could he be any more shameful?” I’m tempted to answer in the negative, but the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman keeps finding new ways to embarrass himself. At this point, it’s tempting to write a point-by-point takedown of everything Graham said during his unfortunate press conference yesterday afternoon. I’m inclined to write a long, tiresome piece explaining in excruciating detail that there’s nothing scandalous about the House’s impeachment inquiry; Graham is surely aware of that; he’s contradicting his own stated principles; Graham’s rhetoric about due process doesn’t make any sense at all; and he appears unusually pitiful doing the bidding of a president who recently felt the need to remind Graham that he’s his “boss.”

But for now, let’s put those relevant considerations aside and consider a more practical detail: the number of co-sponsors on Graham’s pointless resolution. As of this morning, 44 Senate Republicans have signed on as original co-sponsors of Graham’s non-binding resolution denouncing the House’s impeachment process. There are currently 53 Senate Republicans in total, which means all but eight of the GOP members in the chamber have linked arms with Graham in support of this misguided measure. (The eight, in case you’re curious, are Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Lamar Alexander, Johnny Isakson, Rob Portman, Lisa Murkowski, and Mike Enzi.) Graham has said he actually has 46 co-sponsors lined up, though it’s not yet clear who the other two supporters are. And why does this tally matter? For one thing, it tells us that Graham’s resolution doesn’t yet have the votes to pass, which isn’t great news for the White House. On the other hand, if the House impeaches Donald Trump in the near future – an outcome I consider a near certainty – the matter would go to the Senate for a trial. If every member of the Senate Democratic conference votes to remove the president from office – which is by no means a certainty – they would need to be joined by 20 of the Senate’s 53 Republicans on at least one count. As things stand, somewhere between six and eight GOP senators balked at Lindsey Graham’s ridiculous resolution. With this in mind, the odds of 20 Senate Republicans agreeing to remove Trump from office are poor. Full Story

By Grace Panetta

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a resolution denouncing the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. In a Thursday afternoon press briefing, Graham announced he had 41 Republican co-sponsors for his resolution. He further called the current impeachment inquiry "very dangerous to the country," and recalled how during the impeachment process for former President Bill Clinton— in which Graham played a central role — the House held a vote to formally open an inquiry and established its scope.

Three House committees, the House Permanent Select Panel on Intelligence, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform are jointly calling witnesses and subpoenaing documents as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Congressional Republicans, including Graham, have so far lambasted the impeachment inquiry on process grounds, claiming it denies Trump "due process," and is mostly being conducted behind-closed-doors. They also claim that Republicans are being shut out of the process, despite the fact that 48 House Republicans — almost a quarter of the entire House GOP caucus — sit on those three committees that have been questioning witnesses and reviewing documents as part of the inquiry.  On Wednesday, a group of House Republicans caused a scene in the basement of the Capitol Hill by storming and occupying the SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) where those three committees were attempting to depose Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, documenting the incursion on social media, and even ordering pizza to the room.

Trump has gone on the attack in defending himself from the ongoing inquiry. Early on Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted, "someday, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching." While a few Republicans condemned Trump's invocation of lynching, many Senate Republicans agreed with his characterization and the comparison between the inquiry and systemic murder of African-Americans, showing their willingness to accept Trump's hardball tactics and rhetoric. Full Story

By Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, CNN

(CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham and other congressional Republicans have slammed House Democrats for conducting their impeachment inquiry with depositions behind closed doors, but Republicans also used closed-door depositions during their impeachment inquiry of former President Bill Clinton two decades ago. Then-Rep. Lindsey Graham, at a November 1998 news conference one day after Special Prosecutor Ken Starr publicly testified before the House Judiciary Committee, praised the Judiciary panel's plans to hold depositions before conducting public hearings. Graham was a key Republican on the Judiciary Committee and was one of the House impeachment managers during the Senate trial that followed.

Asked by a reporter in 1998 if he thought there would be hearings with "some of the principals," Graham said: "The depositions, I think, will determine whether or not we go forward with hearings. I think it's a very smart thing to do, to depose these people and find out what they've got to say and not drag this thing out unnecessarily. And it's going to end by the end of the year." Graham's comments could provide fodder for Democrats seeking to undercut Republican attacks that the impeachment inquiry should not be conducting depositions behind closed doors, but doing everything in public.

The closed-door depositions are just one of several lines of attack Republicans have leveled, as they're also critical of Democrats for not voting to authorize the impeachment inquiry, the President's counsel not being allowed to participate and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff's handling of the investigation. Graham introduced a resolution Thursday condemning the House's impeachment inquiry into the President. At a news conference on the resolution, Graham said the Clinton impeachment inquiry was different because it was authorized.

"In October of 1998, we authorized impeachment as a body," Graham said Thursday. "Some were behind closed doors, but the inquiry itself became very public. We had the Starr hearing to start it off with. But the President participated in a very meaningful way." Asked specifically about Graham's deposition comments from 1998, Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop noted that the circumstances were different, arguing in part that the House has not voted to authorize the current impeachment inquiry but did so 20 years ago with Clinton. "On October 8, 1998 the House of Representatives voted to authorize an inquiry of impeachment into President Clinton.

The deposition you mention below was a full month after the House of Representatives had been put on record and public votes had been cast. A strong bipartisan majority -- including 31 House Democrats -- joined Republicans in voting to authorize an inquiry of impeachment of President Clinton," Bishop said. "Today, the House is breaking and ignoring all the processes and procedures that were used in the 1998 Clinton impeachment." There are key differences in the Clinton impeachment inquiry and the current impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and Ukraine. In 1998, House Judiciary Committee launched the impeachment inquiry after Starr provided his report and mounds of evidence to Congress. The current inquiry began following a whistleblower complaint that has not received extensive investigation, and congressional Democrats are using their depositions in order to probe why security aid to Ukraine was frozen and the role Trump played in holding it up. Full Story

Move over #MoscowMitch.
By Lee Moran

Move over #MoscowMitch. The #LeningradLindsey hashtag exploded to life on Twitter late Thursday after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) helped push a controversial bill aimed at making it harder for migrants to apply for asylum on the U.S.-Mexico border through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Democrats on the committee accused Graham, the chairman, of breaking the rules with the way he forced through the partisan bill, titled the Secure and Protect Act of 2019. The legislation is reportedly not expected to be passed by the full Senate.

“It’s nuts, and probably unconstitutional.”#LeningradLindsey trends after Lindsey Graham advances a controversial asylum bill through the Senate committee pic.twitter.com/HFDcLIOaaH — Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) August 2, 2019. People on Twitter used the Russian-themed hashtag featuring the Soviet-era name for St. Petersburg to accuse Graham of “breaking procedural code.” It was reportedly started by voice-over actor Tara Dublin: #LeningradLindsey is breaking procedural code, lying to the American people, and has betrayed the principles this country was founded upon.  — AmericanChoirBoy (@Choirboytwitch) August 1, 2019. Full Story


By Brandon Gage

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was a tough critic of Donald Trump before he was elected president. In the year-and-a-half since Trump took office, however, Graham has become a staunch defender of the president. Graham has gone from a supporter of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference to a dissenter, calling for the probe to end. On Sunday, Graham appeared on Fox News Sunday and said the Mueller investigation was “corrupt to the core” and that a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the Justice Department and the FBI.

These [FBI] investigations against Trump were corrupt to the core. They gave Clinton a pass, and we need a special counsel to look at all things at the Department of Justice and FBI when it came to the Trump investigation, particularly the counterintelligence investigation. Washington Post opinion columnist Jonathan Capehart asked on MSNBC’s Am Joy what could be prompting Graham’s change of heart. Lindsey Graham, talk about confusing, he confuses me. On some days he is ‘the president must be held accountable,’ and then here he seems to be carrying the president’s water. Can you explain what he is doing? Authoritarianism expert Sarah Kendzior offered a possible explanation as to why this is the case. Kendzior opined that Graham’s waffling may be tied to the hacking of the RNC during the campaign.

“I can offer some theories. Lindsey Graham was one of the people who called for the investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to the Kremlin,” Kendzior said. “He did that all the way back in 2016 before Trump was inaugurated. He has then done a complete 180. He’s been supporting Trump, he’s been covering for Trump.” Kendzior noted that Graham’s emails were also hacked and although the contents of those emails have not been released, Graham’s defense of Trump could indicate the Senator fears what’s in those emails. “There are a few things we should remember,” she said. “The RNC was hacked; no one knows what happened to those emails. Lindsey Graham personally was hacked and nobody knows who has those emails. The RNC is complicit financially and politically and broadly in what the Trump campaign has done in terms of illicit interactions with Russia.”

Kendzior then suggested that Graham could be, albeit involuntarily, “mixed up” in the RNC’s financial entanglements with Russia, which would explain the change in his behavior. “We have tracked all of those financial ties and there’s pretty good chance that either voluntarily or involuntarily Senator Graham has gotten mixed up in the situation and cannot be an objective observer,” she explained. Kendzior added that Graham has strayed from his reputation as an anti-corruption firebrand in the Senate. Full Story

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