Graham on ‘B.S.’ impeachment inquiry: Testimony won’t change his mind, because he won’t read it

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who two weeks ago said additional evidence of a quid pro quo in President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine would be “very disturbing,” told reporters Tuesday that he’s not interested in seeing it.

His comments to reporters came after House Democrats released transcripts of testimony by witnesses in the impeachment inquiry that supported the central allegation that the White House tied military and political support to a “favor” Trump sought from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I’ve written the whole process off,” said Graham, R-S.C., the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think this is a bunch of B.S.”

Testimony released Tuesday included a revised statement by Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, acknowledging that he “spoke individually” with a top Ukrainian official and conveyed Trump’s demands from Kiev in exchange for military and other aid already approved by Congress.

In transcripts made public so far this week, Sondland; Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine; former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former high-ranking State Department official Michael McKinley all tended to confirm that Trump was seeking Zelensky’s help in pursuing a conspiracy theory advanced by Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani about the 2016 election, and in investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival in 2020.  

In an interview with Axios in late October, Graham said he was open to hearing evidence beyond the already-reported July 25 phone call in which President Trump asked Zelensky for “a favor.”

“Sure, I mean ... 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,” Graham said.

Lindsey Graham and President Trump
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Lindsey Graham and President Trump
US President Donald Trump (R) jokes with US Senator Chuck Grassley (L), R-Iowa,that he likes Sen. Lindsey Graham(L) R-SC during a meeting with Republican members of the Senate about immigration at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 04: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd L) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) listen during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House January 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump met with Republican members of the Senate to discuss immigration. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) scratches his brow as he stands behind President Donald Trump during an event with Republican lawmakers to mark passage of sweeping tax overhaul legislation at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham joins U.S. President Donald Trump for a meeting with some of his fellow Senate Republicans at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham joins U.S. President Donald Trump for a meeting with some of his fellow Senate Republicans at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

On Oct. 17, White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters during a press briefing that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine until it looked into the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukrainian nationals were in possession of a computer server belonging to the Democratic National Committee.

“Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server?” Mulvaney responded when asked about the president’s public call to investigate the Bidens. “Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it. That’s why we held up the money.”

When a reporter pointed out that withholding aid to Ukraine until an investigation into the DNC server was launched was the very definition of a quid pro quo, Mulvaney responded, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”

Mulvaney later walked back those comments, and claimed the “media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump.”


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