This Wednesday, prominent Trump ally and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) got abruptly roped into the Ukraine scandal with the revelation that personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani apparently delivered him a letter demanding Congressional action against Trump opponents in Ukraine. That letter delivery unfolded all the way back in late 2018, when Giuliani relayed a request for Congress to sanction Mykola Zlochevskiy, who led — wait for it — the Burisma energy company where Hunter Biden worked and which the president and his team targeted with their demands for investigations that sparked the impeachment inquiry. Graham appears to have abandoned plans for a press conference following that Daily Beast report.
Fox News apparently reported that Graham was expected to deliver a press conference, but as of the noon hour on the east coast — he had not shown up, although Lev Parnas himself had made his way to the Capitol building!
8. Lev Parnas plans to make news on Lindsey Graham today. Lindsey Graham was in the loop and they will discuss it more later today. I had not heard Lindsey Graham mentioned until today. pic.twitter.com/77TmHGwn2i
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) January 29, 2020
President Donald Trump himself even mentioned Graham’s abruptly changing plans during his own remarks at the White House on the occasion of signing the new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement into law, which is an updated version of NAFTA. Trump commented to those in attendance:
“Lindsey Graham! Where is Lindsey? He may be having a news conference right now. He said, ‘I’m going over to his news conference!’ I said, ‘I’d rather have you at your news conference.'”
Graham did end up issuing some public comments about the ongoing impeachment proceedings early Wednesday, focusing his attention on the latest revelations from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who confirmed that Trump specifically tied military aid for Ukraine to whether or not they launched investigations into Burisma — which Graham was apparently tipped off about the president’s personal lawyer’s interest in all the way back in 2018.
Now, Graham has shifted from completely denying that the president bribed Ukraine to essentially admitting he did but insisting that it doesn’t matter.
‘For the sake of argument, one could assume everything attributable to John Bolton is accurate and still the House case would fall well below the standards to remove a president from office… However, I am concerned when John Bolton’s credibility is attacked, it makes it more likely some will feel the need to call him as a witness. In that event, it would be important for the President and his team to call witnesses on other issues.’
In other words — he seems to be admitting that witness testimony could be on the way for the Senate trial. A vote on that issue will take place soon now that opening arguments have finished. (The next stage is questions from Senators for the respective sides.)
However, I am concerned when John Bolton’s credibility is attacked, it makes it more likely some will feel the need to call him as a witness.
In that event, it would be important for the President and his team to call witnesses on other issues.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 29, 2020
In the face of this new evidence, Graham seems to be resorting to Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz’s brazenly outrageous argument that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.
Here’s what Lindsey Graham said in October: “If you could show me that Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing."
He’s saying the opposite now. https://t.co/e6cxSLKP0O
— Mark Jacob (@MarkJacob16) January 29, 2020
Under that reasoning, what even would be an impeachable offense? Do they just want Trump to get a free-for-all to do whatever he wants? Essentially, yes — that’s exactly what Trump has repeatedly said when he’s claimed that Article 2 of the Constitution gives him the power to do whatever he wants.