Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Donald Trump’s closest allies and loyal defenders, has regularly belittled or dismissed evidence that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political rival and assertions that Trump has acted to obstruct congressional investigations into the issue.
But in 1999, when Graham was one of the House managers for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, he regularly made public statements in support of an investigation of Clinton.
1) Graham implored senators to “please allow the facts to do the talking,” and told them, “Don’t decide the case before the case’s end.”
2) Graham said that a “high crime” didn’t have to be a criminal act: “What’s a high crime? How about if an important person hurts somebody of low means? It’s not very scholarly. But I think it’s the truth. I think that’s what they meant by high crimes. Doesn’t even have to be a crime.”
3) Graham said that lying justified impeaching President Clinton: “He is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the land. He encouraged people to lie for him. He lied. I think he obstructed justice.”
4) Graham slammed Richard Nixon for ignoring a subpoena: “The day Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is the day he was subject to impeachment because he took the power from Congress over the impeachment process away from Congress, and he became the judge and jury.”
5) Graham called for hearings where principals involved in the case could be heard. “The depositions, I think, will determine whether or not we go forward with hearings. I think it’s a very smart thing to do, to depose these people and find out what they’ve got to say and not drag this thing out unnecessarily. And it’s going to end by the end of the year.”
6) Graham called for live witnesses to appear: “There may be some conflict that has to be resolved by presenting live witnesses … That’s what happens every day in court and I think the Senate can stand that.”
7) Graham said impeachment would be negatively impacted if witnesses weren’t called: “The whole point that we’re trying to make is that in every trial that there’s ever been in the Senate, regarding impeachment, witnesses were called.” He added, “You’re basically changing impeachment” if witnesses aren’t called.
8) Graham argued that not calling witnesses in the Senate “would be bad” for impeachment law: “That would be bad for impeachment law. That would be against precedent, and I hope that doesn’t happen here.”
9) Graham said excluding witnesses and leaving the case to lawyers would “bore everybody to death” and avoid getting to the truth: “You can have three days of lawyers talking to each other on both sides, 16 hours of question, and basically bore everybody to death, talk everybody to death; but when you have a witness who was there, who was engaged in it, who was in the middle of it telling you about what they were doing and why, that’s a totally different case, and it’s the difference between getting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Now, with Trump, Graham has reversed his positions and even opposed holding a Senate impeachment trial at all. He opposes calling witnesses, promised to side with Trump before hearing evidence, and has repeatedly argued that Trump did nothing wrong. It’s like his days as a leader during the Clinton impeachment didn’t exist at all.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.