Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation continues to reverberate even weeks after its conclusion, and Trump allies like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are flailing. This weekend on CBS’s Face the Nation, he went to outlandish new lengths to attempt to defend President Donald Trump from the concerns like possible obstruction of justice that have lingered following Mueller’s report dropping. Graham broke with the clearly documented findings outlined in that report and declared the president completely innocent of obstruction of justice allegations this weekend.
He ranted to host Margaret Brennan:
‘I think the idea that this president obstructed justice is absurd. He turned over a million documents to the special counsel. Almost everybody around him testified. I can’t think of one thing that President Trump did to stop Mueller from doing his job. He never claimed executive privilege. From my point of view, I’ve heard all I need to really know. Now I want to look and find out how all of this happened.’
.@LindseyGrahamSC on his focus for this week’s AG Barr hearing: “I think the idea that this president obstructed justice is absurd…I’ve heard all I need to really know. Now I want to look and find out how all this happened.” pic.twitter.com/ju9TOxeopE
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) April 28, 2019
Quite simply — what universe is Graham living in? The Mueller report outlines ten instances in which the president was suspected to have obstructed justice, and in most, the team concluded the relevant intent was there. They simply did not go so far as to declare there to be a criminally prosecutable case of obstruction. In part, they claimed their hesitation as based on standing Justice Department precedent against indicting a sitting president.
Graham’s interpretation of “this report does not exonerate the president” could not be further from any reasonable third-party standard of what transpired. He has completely taken leave of clearly documented reality. Among other issues, at one point, Trump demanded then-White House counsel Don McGahn have Mueller removed. McGahn refused, and prepared to resign right then and there over the “crazy shit” Trump was demanding. Yet, Graham sees no apparent reason to be concerned, even while serving as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who you’d think would be concerned with protecting… wait for it… justice.
He smugly told Brennan when asked about the McGahn incident:
‘It’s just all theater. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care what he said to Don McGahn. It’s what he did. And the president never obstructed.’
That’s not for a lack of trying! To suggest that the president flatly and straightforwardly “never obstructed” is, quite simply, false. Graham is lying.
He added that he has no intention of having McGahn come before his committee for testimony, although the lawyer has been subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee as led by Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who’s helping lead a House charge for more information about the president’s corruption via means like also subpoenaing the full, unredacted Mueller report.
Graham will soon be hosting controversial Trump appointee Attorney General William Barr, who he’s told reporters he wanted to have appoint a second special counsel to essentially investigate the first one’s case. The proposal and others like it constitute a policy version of Trump’s endless barrage of tweets that he’s been subjected to the greatest witch hunt in American history and no president should have to “go through” something similar again.
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