Graham calls Democrats 'political hacks,' says Trump should fight their subpoenas 'like hell'
Graham, who played a prominent role in President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings in 1998, defended his past stance in an interview with CNN on Monday, while calling on Trump to "fight like hell" against House Democratic "political hacks" and goading
"There were zero instances of Trump impeding Mueller," Graham said. "Zero."
But Graham, while then a member of the House of Representatives in 1998, took to the floor during the Clinton impeachment proceedings and made reference to the Watergate scandal, which ended Nixon's presidency, noting that Nixon "failed" to answer a subpoena and that was "the day he was subject to impeachment because he took the power from Congress over the impeachment process away from Congress." Nixon ignored subpoenas from special prosecutor Leon Jaworski before being ordered by the Supreme Court to Turn over his taped recordings with staff.
Asked about his past quote, Graham first said, "I said that?" said, "Nixon is now in a" political exercise and they won't let it go. "
" "Their guys are political hacks right now," Graham said. , before referring to House Democratic chairmen, including Jerry Nadler, the New York Democrat who runs the House Judiciary Committee. "Mueller was the guy I was looking for ̵
1; not Nadler, not Lindsey Graham, not any of us, not a Republican."
In 1998, House Republicans including Graham voted for an article of impeachment saying Clinton "impaired the due and proper administration of justice "and" refused to respond to certain requests for admission and willfully made perjurious, false and misleading statements "in describing his relationship with White House internally Monica Lewinsky. The Senate acquitted Clinton of all charges
When asked if he treated Trump differently than he would a Democratic president, Graham said his "record is clear" because he was the only Republican who broke his party to vote in committee against one of the articles of Clinton's impeachment regarding lying in a civil case.
In the interview, Graham said a crucial distinction between Trump and Clinton was that the forms did not obstruct justice while "Clinton did." He argued Trump "fully cooperated" with the special counsel, even though Mueller was unsatisfied with the President's written responses and unsuccessfully sought in-person interview with Trump.
"The President didn't have to talk to him," Graham said of Mueller when asked about the special counsel considering Trump's written responses inadequate. "And if he wanted more he could have gone to court but he chose not to. It's over."
Mueller's report detailed multiple possible episodes of obstruction in which the President had sought to end the FBI and special counseling probes of Russian interference. in the 2016 election through intermediaries. But Mueller concluded, "President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the people who declined the president to carry out orders or accredited to his requests."
Democrats now plan to fully probe the incidents of potential obstruction, even though Attorney General Bill Barr has found that Mueller found insufficient evidence that the President committed such an offense
Graham defended Trump's vow to fight all congressional subpoenas.
"I'm OK with a politician fighting another politician, "Graham said. "And that's what this is. The Mueller report is the last and final of everything Trump's campaign for me."
"Obstruction of justice to me is absurd because the President cooperated fully," he added. "So if the House wants to keep doing this, if I were the President I'd fight like hell."
Asked why not, he said: "I don't care to hear from Mueller. I've heard from Mueller through his report."
Graham's comments are the latest in his evolution from Trump detractor to one of his staunchest defenders . During the 2016 presidential campaign, Graham said Trump was "not a conservative Republican" but "an opportunist." "He's not fit to be President of the United States," tweeted
But since Trump became President, Graham has become a crucial ally, coming to Brett Kavanaugh's defense when the Supreme Court nominates confirmation was imperiled by claims of sexual assault. Kavanaugh ultimately squeaked by a 50-48 vote.
Graham, who is running for reelection in 2020, is now the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and would play a crucial role in the democratic-controlled house. and the charges in the Senate.
In the interview, Graham's message seemed to be: Bring it.
"My advice to Democrats: If you think President Trump did something wrong that you need to cleanse the office – do it, "Graham said.