‘I think this is a bunch of B.S…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said it’s unclear whether a quid pro quo is an impeachable offense, while admonishing House Democrats for taking President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy out of its necessary context.
Graham said it’s completely normal for the U.S. to withhold military aid to push for policy concessions, but admitted it’s unclear what Trump’s intentions were with Zelenskiy.
“We put conditions on aid all the time,” Graham told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “But if you said I’m not going to give you money unless you investigate my political opponent to help me politically, that would be completely out of bounds.”
Several other Senate Republicans have agreed with Graham that Trump’s personal motivations are a central part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“If the hypothetical is you’re going to get $1.8 billion in U.S. aid if and only if you spend $50 million promoting my candidacy, that would be a problem,” another GOP senator told The Hill.
The allusion seemed to have been directed toward former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose co-mingling of her official State business went with her personal affairs involving the Clinton Foundation and her political aspirations went largely ignored during the Obama administration.
Former Vice President Joe Biden also stands accused of having engaged in several quid-pro-quo arrangements both domestically and abroad that benefited family members including his son Hunter and brother Frank.
Biden’s Ukrainian dealings are central to the Democrats’ investigation of Trump. Much of their case hinges on whether the president was justified in pressing Zelenskiy to re-examine a series of corruption probes against the energy company that paid Hunter Biden a lucrative consulting fee while lobbying Obama officials to exert pressure on the country’s prosecutor-general.
Biden later admitted that he had orchestrated the firing of prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin by threatening to withhold a billion-dollar loan guarantee.
The majority of Senate Republicans have insisted that the substance of Trump’s July phone call with Zelenskiy aren’t indicative of a deliberate, personal quid pro quo.
That call became the subject of a whistleblower complaint from a partisan CIA operative working with House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who now leads the impeachment inquiry.
House Democrats are continuing to push the narrative that there was indeed a personal motivation at play, releasing hundreds of pages of transcribed impeachment depositions meant to advance their longstanding that Trump is guilty and should be impeached.
Graham said he doesn’t plan on reading the depositions because of the Democrats’ obvious partisan intentions.
“I’ve written the whole process off,” he told CBS News on Tuesday. “I think this is a bunch of B.S.”
House Democrats will continue with the impeachment proceedings next week and will hold the first pubic hearings featuring three State Department officials who have testified about their concerns about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.