Lindsey Graham's anger boils over during Kavanaugh questioning: 'Most unethical sham since I've been in politics'

The anger in Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had been building steadily throughout Thursday, as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

When Ford’s questioning ended, Graham vented to reporters about what he saw as a Democratic conspiracy to keep Brett Kavanaugh from the high court. But it wasn’t until Kavanaugh himself was questioned by Democrats on the committee that Graham’s anger really boiled over.

After Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Mich., asked Kavanaugh to request an F.B.I. investigation into charges of sexual assault to try to clear his name, Graham broke from the agreement among Republican senators to have prosecutor Rachel Mitchell ask their questions for them, and fired off his own view on whether an investigation should be launched.

“If you wanted an FBI investigation you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open, and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that, not me,” Graham said, before turning back to Kavanaugh. “You’ve got nothing to apologize for. When you see [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor and [Justice Elena] Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello, because I voted for them.”

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee
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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Christine Blasey Ford attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for her to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Christine Blasey Ford, testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Rachel Mitchell ask questions to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo By Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. In prepared remarks, Ford said, �t is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.� (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Christine Blasey Ford, testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Senator Benjamin E. Sasse (R-NE) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) talks as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo By Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in by chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on September 27, 2018, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Photo by Tom Williams / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOM WILLIAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in by chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on September 27, 2018, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Photo by Tom Williams / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOM WILLIAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor from Arizona, waits for Christine Blasey Ford, to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS
Senate Republicans attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Mike Lee (R-UT) before the start of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Melina Mara/Pool via REUTERS
Senate Republicans attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Senators Dianne Feinstein, left, and Richard Durbin attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Senators Richard Durbin and Kamala Harris attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Phoenix prosecutor Rachel Mitchell listens during opening statements before Christine Blasey Ford testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris talk at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), committee chairman before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Melina Mara/Pool via REUTERS
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Returning his ire to Durbin and the Democrats questioning Kavanaugh, Graham, red-faced and animated, continued his fire. “I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” Graham shouted. “And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy. Are you a gang rapist?”

“No,” Kavanaugh responded.

“I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through,” Graham continued. “Boy you all want power. God I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham.”

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