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Westlake Legal Group > Lindsey Graham

Graham: We’ve got 46 U.S. senators right now willing to condemn the House impeachment inquiry as unfair

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The number of co-sponsors of Graham’s impeachment resolution as of 6 p.m. ET last night was 44, meaning that nine Senate Republicans were still holding out. But two of those holdouts, Rob Portman and Dan Sullivan, made no sense. They’re each from red states. They’d have nothing to gain and everything to lose by crossing Trump on impeachment matters (especially Sullivan, who’s up for reelection next fall). Sure enough, Graham himself reported soon after on his Twitter feed that both senators had joined his cause. That left just seven holdouts — but all seven *could* potentially be hard for Graham to get. Or at least harder than the average Republican.

Alexander
Collins
Enzi
Gardner
Isakson
Murkowski
Romney

Two anti-Trumpers, two highly vulnerable purple-state senators who are on the ballot next fall, and three retiring senators. Hmmm!

It turns out that the new resolution wasn’t Graham’s first option for attacking the House inquiry. The White House wants him to be more aggressive against Schiff and company and so, per the Dispatch, Graham initially proposed to Senate Republicans that they should send a letter to Pelosi indicating that they were on Trump’s side — not just in his complaints about the procedures Democrats were using but on the merits of the Ukraine matter too. I think Graham, realizing how leery Pelosi is of impeachment, thought that a united front among Senate Republicans on the merits might give her the excuse she’s looking for to drop the inquiry. “Senate Republicans seem to have made up their minds before seeing the evidence,” she might have said. “That’s a dereliction of duty, but there’s nothing I can do about it so let’s move on from impeachment.”

The idea didn’t go over so well in the Republican caucus room, though, because there simply isn’t a united front on the merits of Trump’s defense.

Graham presented the idea of an aggressive letter to Speaker Pelosi, as first reported by The Hill, in which Republican senators would make clear that they would not vote to remove President Trump from office. The proposed letter would have included a defense of the president and a critique of the process run by House Democrats.

Numerous senators voiced concerns about Graham’s proposal. Tom Cotton argued that such a public missive would put vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in 2020 in a difficult spot: sign it, and you’re committing yourself to defend the president; refuse, and you’re making yourself a potential target of Trump’s ire. The former risks alienating conservative skeptics and independents and the latter would infuriate the Trump-friendly GOP base. Graham, whose office did not respond to a request for comment, was reportedly “blindsided” by the negative response from his Senate colleagues.

So, with McConnell’s help, Graham proceeded to Plan B: Forget the merits of the Ukraine matter and focus on process exclusively. Surely the caucus would agree to a resolution criticizing the way Democrats are running the inquiry. That would let all of them earn a little breathing room from the GOP base while they brace themselves for the momentous vote on removal after the president’s trial a month or two from now. And more importantly it would hopefully get TrumpWorld off of Graham’s back. They keep asking him to be a warrior for the president and meanwhile the president keeps making Graham’s job harder by griping about Senate Republicans:

That Graham’s maneuver fell short of satisfying the political bloodlust among Trump’s allies didn’t go unnoticed by his colleagues, many of whom have privately griped in recent days about Trump’s eagerness to air his disapproval of the very people he needs in his corner in the event of an impeachment trial. One top GOP Senate operative said that patience on the Hill is “wearing thin.”

“It’s exhausting and they don’t know what they don’t know in terms of where this is going,” the operative added.

Other aides said that they found the attacks from Trump-allied operatives to be counterproductive.

“It’s an interesting strategy,” a senior Senate GOP aide told The Daily Beast, “to attack Republican senators after they try to defend you.”

I’m surprised that McConnell would get behind Graham’s resolution unless he had commitments in advance from 51 Republicans to support it. If Graham’s resolution fails, it’ll trigger a thunderstorm of media coverage about how Republican solidarity behind Trump might be weaker than everyone thought. Then we’ll have a real sh*tshow between Trump and the Senate GOP. I think Graham *will* end up getting at least five of the seven holdouts in the end, though. After all, unless you’re a stalwart anti-Trumper like Romney, there’s no incentive not to play nice with Trump at this stage of the process. If you’re open to removing him from office later, why turn adversarial so soon? Just vote with Graham, be a team player, and keep your powder dry until the removal vote. Frankly, I don’t think any of the seven except Romney or Murkowski are any real threat to cross the aisle on removal either. Collins and Gardner would be committing political suicide if they did so, and the retirees Alexander, Enzi, and Isakson are loyal Republicans who doubtless move in Republican social circles. Why cast a vote on removal that’ll alienate everyone around them back home when the removal effort won’t remotely approach 67 votes?

The one wrinkle is that if Collins, Gardner, and the retirees have already quietly made up their minds to vote against removal later, then they might choose not to support Graham’s resolution now as a way of tossing Trump’s critics a bone in anticipation of the disappointment to come. They’d all be kidding themselves if they believe anti-Trumpers will care about anything else if they end up opposing removal, but siding with Democrats on Graham’s resolution is one very tiny thing they could all do to signal “bipartisanship.” If they end up refusing to support Graham’s resolution, that’s probably why. It’s not because they’re going to try to oust Trump later, it’s because they aren’t and are looking for conciliatory gestures to pro-removal constituents back home.

Anyway, the complaints about process are a fun sideshow but Republicans “are also keenly aware that there is an expiration date on that approach, given that Democrats soon plan to hold a series of public hearings to lay out their case, raising the possibility that their bind will only deepen as the more information pours out.” That’s why Trump and his inner circle are so peeved at Graham and so dissatisfied with this current stunt. A resolution denouncing Democratic secrecy won’t matter once the proceedings are no longer secret. A Judiciary Committee investigation of Burisma and CrowdStrike led by Graham potentially has much longer legs.

The post Graham: We’ve got 46 U.S. senators right now willing to condemn the House impeachment inquiry as unfair appeared first on Hot Air.

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Lindsey Graham Responds to Criticism That He’s Been Soft On Impeachment and It’s Less Than Convincing

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pauses while speaking to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after his meeting with President Donald Trump, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

There’s been a #whereislindsey hashtag trending for a few days among conservative circles, which is a reaction to the fact that Sen. Lindsey Graham has made some big statements but taken little action to combat Rep. Adam Schiff’s machinations in the House.

At one point, he said “if this continues” that he will subpoena Kurt Volker. Well, it’s continued apace for weeks and the selective leaking has gotten far worse. Yet, Graham has stood pat despite being the head of the extremely powerful Judiciary Committee in the Senate. This goes beyond impeachment as well. He’s failed to call any witnesses dealing with the Trump-Russia investigation despite promising to do so.

Naturally, this has frustrated some on the right.

Julie Kelly of American Greatness pressed Graham for a comment on why he’s been so hesitant to make any moves despite being so forceful on TV. Surprisingly, she got an answer back.

Chairman Graham has been clear—repeatedly—he is waiting for [Justice Department] Inspector General Horowitz to deliver his report. When the report has been delivered and declassified by the Attorney General, Inspector General Horowitz will testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Graham is committed to transparency.” She continued. “If we called the IG and others to the committee before the report was out or declassified, they would be forced to answer many—simple or tough—questions with ‘Sorry we can’t discuss that, it’s classified.’ That is not a productive outcome.

Eh, this is pretty weak I think. The Inspector General is simply not that important and his actions certainly shouldn’t be dictating investigations in the Senate. Horowitz has no subpoena power, no prosecutorial power, and can’t even compel testimony of those who’ve left government. What exactly is Graham waiting on except the watered down report we all know it will be? It’s Graham who could actually force figures like Brennan and Clapper in front of Congress, not the DOJ’s IG.

Kelly also asked about matters dealing with Trump and Ukraine.

What about Graham’s promise to find out more about the Ukranian “whistleblower?”

Earlier this month, the spokeswoman noted, Graham invited President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to testify before the Judiciary Committee. That’s nice, but why not anyone from the intelligence community, including the inspector general under fire for his handling of the complaint and refusal to answer questions about his role.

If he wants to call Rudy Giuliani in, by all means. But he’s far from the only figure Graham should be concerned with. Why has he not tried to compel testimony from the “whistle blower” given that we now know he coordinated (on some level) with Adam Schiff and his staff? It’d seem pretty useful to get him under oath and ask him about that. Further, the inconsistencies with last minute revisions made by the ICIG (Atkinson) to allow the complaint should also be of interest. Yet, Graham has not called him either to testify.

And what about all the witnesses that Schiff is shuffling through? There’s absolutely nothing that says the Senate can’t interview these people in a more transparent way to undercut the secrecy going on in the House.

Heck, we are now approaching the end of the year and Graham hasn’t called a single witness to deal with the Mueller report, how it was run, and whether certain figures like Andrew Weissmann overstepped their bounds. What is the point of holding such a powerful position and being the majority in the Senate if you aren’t going to use that power?

Graham did introduce a resolution today calling for Schiff to stop his games, but it’s not going to even pass. Mitt Romney and company are going to vote it down. It’d also be a non-binding action. You might as well just go on Fox News and read Schiff an angry letter. What’s the point?

Look, I like Graham. I think he’s done a reasonably good job the past few years on some big issues, not the least of which is Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. But he’s going to have to step forward in this process sooner rather than later.

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The post Lindsey Graham Responds to Criticism That He’s Been Soft On Impeachment and It’s Less Than Convincing appeared first on RedState.

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Graham: If Republicans were using these Democratic impeachment procedures, “you’d be beating the sh*t out of us”

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It’s pretty clear what he and McConnell are trying to achieve with this new resolution denouncing the Dems’ impeachment inquiry, annnnnd it’s pretty clear that it’s not going to work. Not fully, at least.

The president and his inner circle want to know why his most loyal crony isn’t being as loyal as they’d like lately. Bad enough that Graham would join in the chorus attacking Trump for abandoning the Kurds, but now he won’t even use his power on the Judiciary Committee to launch investigations into the Burisma and CrowdStrike matters. What the hell are they even keeping this guy around for if he won’t counterprogram the impeachment inquiry for them?

Rand Paul’s doing some solid crony work for Trump by leaning on Graham too:

Graham’s offering this new resolution as an olive branch to the White House in lieu of holding hearings. He’s said elsewhere that he doesn’t think Burisma and CrowdStrike are within the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee, that they’re more properly left to the Intelligence Committee — which is probably true but unlikely to appease Trump, who cares nothing for formalities. In truth, Graham’s probably just worried about the high downside risk to him of opening those two probes. The CrowdStrike hearing will likely end up with people like Tom Bossert testifying that Trump’s a crank for believing that there’s some secret server somewhere that proves the DNC hacking was an inside job. The Burisma hearing holds more promise, but Graham may be guessing that it’s unlikely to show wrongdoing by *Joe* Biden. Certainly it can and would show that *Hunter* Biden had no business being on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, suggesting that he was named a director purely so that the company could influence the administration via Joe Biden. But absent evidence that it did influence Biden, or that the corrupt prosecutor whom Biden pressured Ukraine to fire really was intent on investigating Hunter Biden and Burisma, that hearing’s not going to deliver what Trump wants it to deliver.

And then guess who’ll be blamed. Right: Lindsey Graham, the crony who proved to be useless to Trump when it mattered. Even if Graham ends up being safely reelected to the Senate next fall, the brownie points he’s earned with the GOP base will be lost. So, unless Graham can be convinced in advance that the Burisma probe really might pay off, what incentive does he have to do it?

Instead he’ll try to placate the president with a formal Senate resolution denouncing the House impeachment process. Interestingly, he has Mitch McConnell’s support on that. Cocaine Mitch is in his own awkward spot with Trump right now, as you already know if you read this post on Tuesday. McConnell’s been critical of the president on Syria, he contradicted Trump’s claim that the two had spoken by phone about the Ukraine call, and he declined to defend Trump’s description of the House process as a “lynching.” And the media has noticed. Maybe McConnell has concluded that there’s a little too much distance between him and the president at a moment when Republican voters are demanding unity and so he decided to throw Trump a bone in the form of Graham’s resolution. It’ll buy him — and the vulnerable Senate Republicans who are on the ballot next fall — a little cheap cred with the base while they wait for impeachment to move forward, a signal that they’re still on the team for now as they mull whether to remove the president.

What’s also interesting is that McConnell must have reason to believe that 51 Republicans will support this resolution. Otherwise he wouldn’t let it come to the floor, right? It’d be a total messaging disaster for the GOP if Graham moved to denounce the House proceedings and then Romney, Murkowski, and a few others switched sides to vote with Schumer. Although, really, why would Romney et al. do that in this case? The resolution means nothing and it’s an easy opportunity to show solidarity with the party on a low-stakes vote. That’s the reason McConnell’s supporting it. Just dunk on the Democrats here and hope that satisfies Trump’s fans for a few weeks.

Lindsey knows what to say to satisfy them:

“If we were doing this, you’d be beating the sh– out of us,” Graham bluntly told a reporter at one point, accusing Democrats of selectively leaking testimony from their closed-door hearings, without affording Republicans the opportunity to subpoena or publicly cross-examine witnesses. “And, I think it says a lot about people in your business, with all due respect.”…

Graham’s resolution specifically called on the House to vote immediately to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry; and demanded that the House “provide President Trump, like every other American, with due process, to include the ability to confront his accusers, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment.”…

“If we pulled this stunt, you’d be eating us alive,” Graham said at the news conference. “How many people have asked me about [diplomat] Bill Taylor’s opening statement? If we had Rudy Giuliani’s opening statement, and he said he did nothing wrong, I doubt that you would accept that. 47 Republican House members feel like it’s not working for them. They feel like [Kurt] Volker’s testimony has been selectively released, [Rep. John] Ratcliffe’s cross-examination of Taylor is not available to you. … There’s a way to do it.”

Graham also complained at this afternoon’s presser that “If you can drive down a president’s poll numbers by having proceedings where you selectively leak information, where the president who’s the subject of all this is pretty much shut out, God help future presidents.” Trump’s job approval is down a few points in the RCP average since the Ukraine story broke big but obviously everything is in flux as the inquiry proceeds. When (not if) he’s acquitted by the Senate after a public trial, he’ll likely recover fully. He may even get a bounce if the Democrats’ evidence at trial turns out to be as thin as House Republicans claim.

Here’s the list of Republican co-sponsors of Graham’s resolution as of 4:45 p.m. ET. There are 44. The nine holdouts are Alexander, Collins, Enzi, Gardner, Isakson, Murkowski, Portman, Romney, and Sullivan. Portman and Sullivan will dutifully join the sponsors but the other seven are … interesting cases, a mix of anti-Trumpers (Romney and Murkowski), incumbents facing very tough reelection bids (Collins and Gardner), and incumbents who are retiring and thus have nothing to lose by thwarting Trump (Alexander, Enzi, and Isakson). I think the last group will all join with Graham. What about the others?

The post Graham: If Republicans were using these Democratic impeachment procedures, “you’d be beating the sh*t out of us” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Graham: Get ready for our resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry as “illegitimate, unconstitutional”

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As the House impeachment inquiry spins away in secret but hardly in quiet, Donald Trump and his allies are starting to notice a silence that’s been out in the open. They apparently expected Lindsey Graham to use his perch as Senate Judiciary chair to push back against the House effort, but up to now Graham has kept his committee out of the process. Graham has now called a presser for later today, and Axios’ Jonathan Swan wonders whether Graham has had enough of the House, or the White House has had enough of Graham’s silence:

This reached a crescendo pitch earlier this week when Trump complained on Twitter about a lack of “fight” from Senate Republicans. After yesterday’s clown show in the SCIF, however, Graham has decided to take more concrete action. He told Sean Hannity last night that he and Mitch McConnell plan to introduce a resolution in the Senate condemning the House’s handling of impeachment:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is planning to introduce a resolution condemning the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry process and argued that any articles should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial.

“This resolution puts the Senate on record condemning the House. … Here’s the point of the resolution: Any impeachment vote based on this process, to me, is illegitimate, is unconstitutional, and should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial,” Graham told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. …

Graham added on Tuesday night that Trump should get “the same rights that any American has if you’re giving a parking ticket to confront the witnesses against you: can’t be based on hearsay.”

“We cannot allow future presidents and this president to be impeached based on an inquiry in the House that’s never been voted upon, that does not allow the president to confront the witnesses against him, to call witnesses on his behalf, and cross-examine people who are accusing him of misdeeds,” he added.

The resolution will not mean much, of course, but at least it will give Senate Republicans a chance to signal to their Democrat colleagues just how much credibility they see in the House process. Graham also told Hannity that the Senate GOP has discussed simply dismissing any articles of impeachment that arise from this process, which The Hill reports this morning as well:

President Trump’s biggest allies in the Senate are looking to quickly quash articles of impeachment that the Democratic-controlled House might pass in the coming months.

The possible GOP strategy would swiftly dismiss impeachment following an extensive House inquiry that is investigating whether Trump tried to leverage aid to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. …

Republicans, who believe it is likely the House will impeach Trump, are weighing what is best for their party: a rapid dismissal of impeachment or a vote to acquit Trump after a trial. Sixty-seven votes are needed to convict a president.

That, and the SCIF clown show that took place yesterday, has some House Democrats worried enough to start thinking about moving into an open inquiry sooner than planned.  The Washington Post reports that a flat-out Senate rejection would look bad under any circumstances, but especially after House Republicans have signaled that they will play hardball against the leaks coming from Schiff’s team:

House Democrats are preparing to move their largely private impeachment inquiry onto a more public stage as soon as mid-November and are already grappling with how best to present the complex Ukraine saga to the American people.

Over the past three weeks, a parade of current and former Trump administration officials have testified behind closed doors, providing House investigators with a compelling narrative of President Trump’s campaign to extract political favors from Ukrainian officials. But on Wednesday, after conservative lawmakers stormed the hearing room and delayed the proceedings for five hours, some Democrats were feeling pressure to advance public hearings in hopes of avoiding further disruptions. …

Some Democrats are concerned that repeated protests by Republicans, similar to Wednesday’s disruption, could make it impossible for them to question witnesses and could completely stop the process.

The threat of dismissal is real, and has been at least hinted at by McConnell himself. It could take place in one of two forms — either an explicit motion to dismiss, or by a motion for an immediate verdict. If House Democrats don’t bother to make a strong public case but instead largely rely on “secret” depositions for the article(s) of impeachment, then Senate Republicans would likely opt for the former to emphasize the illegitimacy of the House process. They would only need a simple majority to dismiss, and given the clown-show process that Schiff has been running (although within the rules), it would make it the easiest politically.

If House Democrats do hold public hearings and testimony, a dismissal might be tough, but it might also undermine their case. There have already been counter-leaks suggesting that the supposedly damning testimony is only hearsay and supposition for a premise that isn’t even technically a crime at all. If this comes down to rumors and analysis rather than fact witnesses, the entire enterprise will bomb harder than the Muellermas in late July. In that case, Senate Republicans might well opt for the immediate verdict, or even a short trial to rebut the public case made in the House and to humiliate Schiff and Nancy Pelosi over it.

Graham’s presser will take place at 3 pm ET today, presumably to announce the substance of the resolution. Will Graham start opening his own probe into the machinations that produced the House clown show? That’s what the White House really wants, but Graham will be very reluctant to start that kind of interchamber food fight by having a Senate committee essentially investigating the House.

Update: Via Allahpundit, Graham’s already precluding that possibility on those very grounds:

It’s a smart move, although it won’t make the White House too happy.

The post Graham: Get ready for our resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry as “illegitimate, unconstitutional” appeared first on Hot Air.

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After Schiff’s Latest Witness Claims Quid Pro Quo, Calls Grow Louder for Lindsey Graham to Take Action #WheresLindsey

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pauses while speaking to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after his meeting with President Donald Trump, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham has repeatedly and publicly promised to call witnesses to testify before the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee which he chairs in the search for the truth about the origins of the Trump/Russia probe, the current impeachment inquiry, and several other farces which have been thrust on President Trump by the Democrats. Yet, he fails to act.

The situation has now become critical. Contrary to everything the United States stands for, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff is trying to unilaterally remove President Trump from office. It’s been said that one witness who appeared before his committee, former Ambassador Kurt Volker, provided testimony which undercut Schiff’s narrative about the July 25th Trump/Zelensky phone call. Today, however, Schiff took a deposition from the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, who according to witnesses, bolstered the House Democrats’ case. Witnesses said Taylor’s opening statement left Democratic lawmakers “gasping.” My colleague, Bonchie, posted about that train wreck here.

The obvious next step for Republicans would be for Graham to call Volcker, Taylor and others who have given depositions to Schiff’s Committee to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Graham’s reluctance to take action has many people wondering. In his frequent appearances on cable news programs, he’s been talking the talk. On his Monday night show, Tucker Carlson played a video montage of Graham promising to “get the answers, the best he knows how” over and over again.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Carlson and expressed his frustration with Graham’s inertia. Tucker asked Paul if Graham’s foreign policy differences with Trump are the reason for his inaction? Graham has disagreed mightily with the President over his decision to withdraw forces from Ukraine. But that’s a recent event. Graham has led the Sen. Judiciary Committee since January.

Here’s what Paul had to say:

I’ve encouraged him publicly and privately to do this. I’d like to see John Brennan come in. I’d like him to testify and I would ask him very pointedly, “Did you talk to the British intelligence agencies? Did you set up spying by foreign intelligence agencies on the President or the President’s campaign? I think he did and I think that’s against the law. I’ve talked to people who are convinced, these people are so officious, that there’s probably paperwork they have filled out.

I think he did call the British agents and I think he did get them involved. But it’s also important to know, Christopher Steele and that Steel dossier. Did he talk to Russian agents?

That’s been the rumor for years now.

So everything that Trump has been accused of doing, investigating a political rival in a foreign country, all of those questions should be asked of the Democrats.

There are a lot of Republicans who are more loyal to the deep state than they are to the president.

Rush Limbaugh has a theory about why Graham hasn’t used his position to fight back against the Democrats:

He could be subpoenaing people, he could be demanding to see — he could be doing in the Senate what they’re doing in the House except he could be doing it to the people that ran this phony investigation into Trump. He could be tracking them all up there. And people ask, “Why isn’t he doing anything?”

And you know what the popular theory is? The popular theory is that he’s got cold feet about doing this because it would implicate Senator McCain, one of his great friends. And it may be true. John McCain was at the epicenter of the Steele dossier’s dissemination. John McCain was one of the leaders in the effort to get Trump and his election reversed and thrown out of town using the Steele dossier and any investigation of this is going to demonstrate this. And many are theorizing that Lindsey Graham just doesn’t want to see Senator McCain’s name dragged through this kind of mud, so there’s no investigation.

I’m skeptical of this theory, because based on what is publicly known about the Democrat’s Trump/Russia collusion investigation, McCain’s role was minor and it came after the 2016 election. McCain claimed he was approached at a national security conference in Nova Scotia by a retired British diplomat who told him about the dossier. He sent his aide, David Kramer, to London to meet with Christopher Steele. Kramer came back to Washington with a copy of the dossier and told the Senator that Steele had seemed credible. McCain handed the document to James Comey on December 9th. The FBI had known about the dossier since the summer. They had been receiving regular updates through DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Because Graham and McCain were very close friends, he could very well have information that we don’t. But, on the face of it, it doesn’t sound likely.

Whatever the reason is, (prior to Trump’s decision to pull troops from Syria) Graham has been one of Trump’s most vocal supporters and his lack of action is confounding.

Today, it was reported that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, will be calling in witnesses to testify about the basis of the impeachment  inquiry. No surprise there. Although Burr certainly isn’t one of the President’s fans, his committee’s Trump/Russia investigation found no evidence of collusion.

Following Volker’s House testimony several weeks ago, Graham again promised to call him before his committee if the Democrats continued with their unethical tactics. Earlier today, Donald Trump, Jr. responded. He tweeted, “I repeat…its continuing.”

The post After Schiff’s Latest Witness Claims Quid Pro Quo, Calls Grow Louder for Lindsey Graham to Take Action #WheresLindsey appeared first on RedState.

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Video: Lindsey Graham Torches Media, Explains Why He Agrees With Trump Calling Democrat Actions “Lynching”

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pauses while speaking to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, after his meeting with President Donald Trump, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and President Trump don’t see eye to eye on the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but when it comes to House Democrats and their show trial impeachment inquiry, Graham has remained in the president’s corner.

As Streiff wrote earlier today, Democrats, the mainstream media, and even some Republicans pitched fits over Trump’s characterization of the Democratic party’s impeachment charades as a “lynching” in a tweet this morning:

In the midst of the Usual SuspectsWestlake Legal Group 2122 Video: Lindsey Graham Torches Media, Explains Why He Agrees With Trump Calling Democrat Actions “Lynching” white house washington D.C. south carolina Social Media republicans Politics North Carolina Media Lindsey Graham journalism Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture Congress Allow Media Exception   erupting in outrage, Sen. Graham was asked his thoughts on what Trump said and if he agreed with the comments. Here’s how Graham responded (transcribed):

I think it’s pretty well accurate. This is a sham. This is a joke. I’m going to let the whole world know that if we were doing this to a Democratic president you’d be all over me right now.

Not one person has asked me [these] questions:

“What do you think about the fact that President Trump doesn’t know who his accuser is?”

“What do you think about the fact that the Republican minority cannot call witnesses, that everything’s done behind closed doors?”

I can only imagine if this were a Democratic president what you would be saying to me right now. So it shows a lot of things about our national media.

When it’s about Trump, who cares about the process, as long as you get him? So yes this is a lynching in every sense, this is un-American.

Watch Graham speak to reporters about this issue below:

Graham later clarified with a journalist that he was talking about a “political lynching” because apparently the journo actually believed he was equating the impeachment inquiry to the lynching (hanging and killing) of African-Americans that happened decades ago under Democratic rule.

I get the impression from Graham’s interviews and other various comments he’s made about what Democrats are doing regarding the impeachment process is that he’s on the verge of a Kavanaugh hearing-style smackdown of Congressional Democrats and their media enablers.

I sure hope he is, because a high-dosage reality check like that is exactly what is needed in the middle of the clown show.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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Turns out “Pierre Delecto” approved of various tweets criticizing Republicans in the Senate, and elsewhere

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A fun footnote to Jazz’s post earlier via Mediaite. I could understand Romney wanting a “burner account” on Twitter if he wanted to interact with people anonymously, instead of opening an official account and having every last thing he tweeted be the subject of news stories. But Romney hardly ever commented from his “Pierre Delecto” account. He appears to have used his account almost exclusively to read the tweets of the people he followed.

So why did he need a burner account? If all he wanted to do was lurk, he could have opened a personal Mitt Romney account and just used that without tweeting.

There was, however, one thing he did with the Pierre account that would have been awkward if he had done it with a Mitt account: He “liked” certain tweets posted by others. Not everyone uses the “like” function to signal that they really do like a particular tweet; many use it as a way to bookmark a tweet to which they might have reason to refer later. (Once you “like” a tweet, it appears in a separate “like” column on your account for handy reference going forward.) Romney, however, seems to have used the “like” function the way it was designed, to signal approval of or agreement with someone else’s view.

And here’s the thing: The “like” column attached to one’s account is visible to the world. Anyone can see which tweets you’ve liked.

Which is where things get interesting. Georgetown professor Don Moynihan sifted through some of Pierre Delecto’s “likes” yesterday afternoon during the few hours between the time the account was identified as likely belonging to Romney and the time that Romney made the account “private.” (Once an account goes private, everything about it apart from the username — tweets, “likes,” you name it — is invisible to all except those who already followed the account.) What Moynihan found is that Pierre wasn’t shy about approving of tweets that were critical of Republicans…

…including Republicans with whom he serves in the Senate:

The Rubio tweet is especially surprising since Marco was a surrogate for Romney 2012 and a shortlister for VP that year. But note the date of Scott Conroy’s tweet criticizing Rubio: October 4 of this year. That was the day Rubio was asked by reporters what he thought about Trump publicly nudging China to investigate the Bidens and humiliated himself by dismissing it as nothing more than presidential trolling aimed at getting a rise out of the media.

“Pierre” is plainly tired of the Trump apologists in his own caucus.

That’s the amazing thing of about all of these tweets, in fact — the dates. These aren’t years-old tweets griping about Trump or other Republicans from back when Romney was enjoying private life. He was “liking” complaints about GOP senators as recently as a few weeks ago, when he was a member of the Senate himself. Which raises the question: What the hell was Romney doing “liking” tweets from his burner account, given the obvious political trouble doing so might cause him if the account was ultimately traced to him?

Did he never ask one of his kids or grandkids, “Say, if I ‘like’ a tweet mocking Little Marco Rubio, can other Twitter users see that?” The prudent thing to do with an account set up to allow him to lurk was to do just that — lurk. No “liking,” no retweeting, no nothing. Just follow the people you want to follow and read their tweets in silence.

Meanwhile, Mitt’s longtime enemies are opportunistically piling on:

As many, many others noted on Twitter after Huck posted that, Trump’s infamous use of alter egos over the years to promote himself (in particular, his sex life) has never seemed to give Huck or his daughter a moment’s pause before defending the president at every turn.

Anyway. Whatever Pierre’s faults, let it be known that he has/had excellent taste in Twitter commentary:

Mike Lee is of course Romney’s Senate colleague from Utah. I’m intrigued to see that “Pierre” appears to have shared my chagrin about Lee’s callous support for abandoning the Kurds.

In lieu of an exit question, here’s Romney being pressed by Axios about his view of Trump.

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Anti-Trumper Chris Wallace Tells Mick Mulvaney a “Well-Connected Source” Says 20% Chance Senate Will Remove Trump

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Fox News‘ Chris Wallace no longer bothers to pretend he hates President Trump. During a contentious interview on Sunday with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, he brought up the number of Republicans that are breaking with or at least distancing themselves from Trump after his decision to pull troops out of Northern Syria. He pointed out Mitch McConnell’s scathing op-ed last week in addition to House Republicans voting 129 to 60 to rebuke the decision.

Then, Wallace informed Mulvaney that a source, a well-connected Republican D.C. insider, “it’s a name you would know well,” had told him that if Trump is impeached by the House and a trial in the Senate follows, there is a 20% chance he would be voted out of office. The question comes at 11:40 in the video below.

Mulvaney sees the comment for what it is and instantly dismisses it. “That’s just absurd. But let’s deal with the issue of Syria.”

Wallace immediately cuts him off, and says forcefully, “No, let’s deal with the issue of Republicans – you’re losing your support.”

Mulvaney responds, “The 20%. That person clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about…No, the president is extraordinarily popular back home, more popular in the swing districts now that impeachment has started.”

A supermajority, or 67 Senators, would be required to remove the President from office. Currently, there are 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 Independents serving in the Senate. Both Independents caucus with the Democrats.  They would still need 20 Republicans to vote against Trump.

Mitt “Pierre Delecto” Romney is one and there would be a handful of others. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) and possibly Susan Collins (R-ME) come to mind. The reality is that chances of a Trump conviction in a Senate trial are closer to nil.

Wallace’s remark filled Democrats’ with glee. The Washington Post immediately published an article entitled “A few Republican cracks on impeachment are showing” which can be viewed here.

The article cites Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who, ahead of the Syria decision, had been one of the President most loyal supporters. Graham is vehemently opposed to pulling U.S. troops out of Northern Syria and has been fiercely critical of Trump.

They point to Graham’s comments during an interview with Axios last Tuesday. When asked if he supported impeachment, he said, “Sure. I mean … show me something that … is a crime. If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”

On Saturday night, Graham appeared on Fox News’ “Justice with Jeanine Pirro” and was still quite worked up.

Following the show, he spoke on the phone with President Trump and by the time he appeared on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” his tone had changed significantly.

If the Washington Post is looking for a serious and permanent break between the two, it might be premature.

A discussion of whether or not Trump made the right call on Syria is beyond the scope of this post. But there is a huge difference between disagreeing with the President on a policy decision and removing him from office.

And it may be time for Chris Wallace to follow Shepard Smith out the door.

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Chris Wallace: A well-connected Republican tells me there’s a 20% chance the Senate will remove Trump from office

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Via the Blaze. Is this “well-connected Republican” Rick Wilson or Mike Murphy or some other ardently and relentlessly anti-Trump Republican consultant?

It’s not … “Pierre Delecto,” is it?

My dude, there wouldn’t be a 20 percent chance of the Senate GOP removing Trump from office even if he did shoot someone on Fifth Avenue on broad daylight. Without incontrovertible evidence that Trump withheld Ukraine’s military aid until he saw movement on the Biden/Burisma probe, I’d say there’s less than a one-percent chance of removal. Even if that evidence emerged, with Gordon Sondland or whoever testifying that Trump framed the quid pro quo for them in those exact terms, I’d guess there’d be at most a 10 percent chance of removal. Most Republicans would retreat into the safe haven of “bad but not impeachable” logic.

I think there may be a 20 percent chance of Democrats getting 51 senators to vote for removal, though. They’d need either four or five Republican votes (depending upon whether Joe Manchin sticks with his caucus) for a “moral victory” in which Trump remains in office but Dems get to boast that a clear majority of both chambers of Congress believes he ought to be driven from office right now. Just tell me who those four or five Republicans are. Romney, Murkowski — who else? Let’s say someone like Richard Burr climbs aboard, creating a 50/50 split. Who’s going to be the fourth Republican to gift-wrap a “majority voted for removal!” talking point for the Dems ahead of the election with both Trump and McConnell breathing down his or her neck not to do so?

Why accept the political heat of casting the 51st vote knowing that it means nothing in practical terms? It’s all downside for your party and no upside.

Watching Lindsey Graham, it’s easy to imagine how an acquittal vote will be justified:

Now that Graham is in the Senate, he’ll vote to acquit — or remove — Trump if he’s impeached by the House.

“Sure. I mean … show me something that … is a crime,” Graham told Axios’ Jonathan Swan. “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”

“As to asking China to look into Biden, that was stupid. … Bad idea. That didn’t last very long. I think that’s a frustrated Trump.”

But Trump’s Ukraine call isn’t impeachable on its own, Graham said: “I’ve read the transcript of the Ukrainian phone call. That’s not a quid pro quo to me.”

Publicly calling on China to investigate the Bidens doesn’t count because that was just Trump being flippant or whatever. The phone call with Zelensky isn’t clear enough evidence of a quid pro quo even though Mick Mulvaney has admitted that the aid was held back in part because of Trump’s interest in the CrowdStrike server, and even if it was clear evidence, it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of a federal statutory offense. If all else fails, Graham can go with “bad but not impeachable” to rationalize a vote to acquit. Nothing short of an outright confession by the president is going to force his hand, and even then he’d probably find something in the confession that would justify voting against removal. “He’s obviously contrite. I don’t think he’ll do it again.”

The ludicrous 20 percent estimate on removal from Wallace’s source was probably just that person’s offhand way of trying to capture how much irritation there is within the Senate GOP caucus at Trump right now.

In interviews with more than 20 GOP lawmakers and congressional aides in the past 48 hours, many said they were repulsed by Trump’s decision to host an international summit at his own resort and incensed by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s admission — later withdrawn — that U.S. aid to Ukraine was withheld for political reasons. Others expressed anger over the president’s abandonment of Kurdish allies in Syria…

A few Republicans are starting to say they flat-out won’t do it anymore — particularly the president’s choice of his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort for next year’s Group of Seven summit of world leaders, a selection that will benefit him financially.

“You have to go out and try to defend him. Well, I don’t know if I can do that!” steamed a frustrated Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). “I have no doubt that Doral is a really good place — I’ve been there, I know. But it is politically insensitive. They should have known what the kickback is going to be on this, that politically he’s doing it for his own benefit.”

Both WaPo and the NYT claimed this morning that it was anger from Republicans within Congress, not Democrats, at Trump’s G7 gambit that convinced him to give up on the idea. (Weirdly, Trump cited opposition from Dems and the media for his decision to reverse himself, a strange play for a guy whose entire brand is never backing down to the partisan enemy.) The 20 percent figure, although grossly exaggerated, may be a polite way of signaling enough bull***t already to the president. At a moment when the GOP is struggling to spin the Ukraine business *and* the Syria withdrawal for him, it’s intolerable that he would put them in the position of having to defend corruption as blatant as handing the G7 to his resort as well. The more likely he thinks removal is — even though it’s almost impossible — the more willing he might be to behave himself for the next couple of months while the impeachment saga plays out. At least make it easy for Republicans to go into the tank for him, for cripes sake.

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Turkey’s hat trick: US troops leaving Syria as Kurds head south

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The situation in northeastern Syria remains in flux on an hour by hour basis. There’s still a semi-official “ceasefire” in place, largely being enforced by the Russians, but that’s only scheduled to hold for another couple of days at most. Just since I went to bed last night, two more big (and disturbing) developments took place. The first was an announcement from the Defense Department that all – or at least most – of the United States troops in Syria would be withdrawing to Western Iraq. If there was any question as to whether or not we’d be backing up the Kurds, it appears that ship has sailed. (Associated Press)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that under the current plan all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, and that the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent a resurgence in that country.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him to the Middle East, Esper did not rule out the idea that U.S. forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. But he said those details will be worked out over time.

We’re supposedly reserving the option to run counterterrorism operations back into Syria from Iraq, which I suppose is plausible. And we’re probably going to need that option now that hundreds if not thousands of ISIS prisoners have reportedly hit the road. But if we’re not directly supervising the terrorist cleanup operations and the Kurds aren’t around to do it (more on that in a moment), who’s going to take care of that responsibility? The Turks? The Russians? I’m not exactly brimming with confidence over either possibility.

Getting back to the question of the Kurds, after initially announcing that they’d struck a deal to work with Bashar al Assad’s forces, they are now reportedly evacuating the border region and heading south.

A senior Syrian Kurdish official says his forces will pull back from a border area in accordance with a U.S.-brokered deal after Turkey allows the evacuation of its remaining fighters and civilians from a besieged town there.

Redur Khalil, a senior Syrian Democratic Forces official, said Saturday the plan for evacuation from the town of Ras al-Ayn is set for the following day, if there are no delays.

He says only after that will his force pull back from a 120-kilometer (75-mile) area between the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal-Aybad. It will withdraw and move back from the border 30 kilometers (19 miles).

This is quite a reversal of policy. Up until now, the Kurds had only been evacuating civilians, claiming that they would stick around the meet the Turks on the field of battle. But with Russian and Syrian forces tossed into the mix, the writing may have been on the wall.

Keep in mind that this isn’t just a reshuffling of military assets. The Kurds have been living in that region for generations and were well established there. Assuming Turkey allows them to withdraw safely, they will have basically committed ethnic cleansing of an entire region in a matter of weeks. But there’s also no assurance that the Kurdish forces will even be allowed to leave peacefully. As of this morning, the AP is reporting that several towns, including Ras al-Ayn, are completely surrounded without an escape corridor to the south.

So at this point, Turkey has indeed pulled off a hat trick of sorts, flushing out the Americans, putting the Syrian forces in a subservient position and preparing to either drive out the Kurds or wipe them out when the ceasefire ends. They’ve also solidified their military alliance with the Russians at the same time. (Erdogan is meeting with Putin in Sochi on Tuesday.) How this could have ended more badly for U.S. and western interests is difficult to imagine.

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