Oh, Dear Lord. Sen. John McCain’s former puppet boy, Sen. Lindsey “Stonewall” Graham (R-SC) has found himself a new puppet master to serve, Donald Trump. “Stonewall” introduced a meaningless resolution in the Senate on Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, calling on the House to vote to open a formal inquiry — this is not required by any House rule or law — and provide Trump with “fundamental constitutional protections,” i.e., due process.
This is a follow-up stunt to the GOP House Freedom Caucus (sic) — actually crypto-fascists who long for authoritarianism under their “Dear Leader” — who violated national security protocols to storm the House Sensitive compartmented information facility, known as the SCIF, in order to intimidate a witness (a crime), Pentagon official Laura Cooper, whom the Pentagon sent a warning letter not to testify.
So much for ‘due process’: Republican mob crashes secure hearing room. “Republicans act[ed] like irresponsible thugs who cannot be trusted to comb through classified material, as they amply demonstrated on Wednesday.”
Cooper nevertheless complied with the lawful subpoena of Congress and did her patriotic duty as a citizen to testify, refusing to become a participant in the Trump administration’s “total obstruction of Congress,” an impeachable offense. Pentagon official testifies about withheld military aid to Ukraine:
Laura Cooper — the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia — appeared despite an effort by the Pentagon to block her cooperation.
Cooper’s testimony comes despite the Pentagon blowing off a deadline last week to comply with a subpoena for documents related to the episode.
Cooper was also the first Defense Department witness to defy a directive not to testify, a sign that Trump’s blockade of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has continued to erode. Several senior State Department officials and a former National Security Council official have already taken the same route.
On Wednesday, three Defense officials indicated they were collecting and reviewing documents in response to the House subpoena but were sending them to the White House, rather than Congress, to screen for potential privileged materials.
The White House, however, has vowed to resist any attempt by Democrats to seek materials for their ongoing impeachment probe.
As for the latest FOX News aka Trump TV talking points about how their “Dear Leader” is being denied due process and “fundamental constitutional protections,” promoted by Lindsey “Stonewall” Graham with this latest desperate made for Trump TV stunt, he is, of course, full of shit.
The customary practice of taking depositions of witnesses before holding public hearings is long-standing in Congress. It happened during Watergate, during the Iran-Contra investigation, and during the endless hearings that House Republicans most recently held on Benghazi.
The public hearing phase of the impeachment inquiry reportedly will begin sometime in mid-November. But for the unlawful stonewalling of the production of witnesses and documents by the White House, this process would have moved more quickly.
As the Washington Post editorializes, The facts are bad, so the GOP whines about process. But they’re wrong about that, too.
THERE IS an old Washington saying that if you’re arguing about process, you’re losing. A follow-on maxim might be: If you are wrong on process, too, you must really be in trouble.
* * *
Republicans have offered no persuasive defense of the president’s actions, because there is none.
Yet questions remain, and House committees are methodically looking for answers. Lawmakers lack a voluminous investigative record like independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s 1998 report. They must do their own basic investigating, which is why it makes sense to hold some hearings behind closed doors. Investigators don’t want witnesses to play for the cameras or dishonestly align their testimony with that of earlier witnesses. Classified material may be discussed. Republicans, in their incessant and fruitless investigations of Hillary Clinton and the 2012 Benghazi attacks, held many closed hearings — and insisted they were the most useful.
Moreover, Republican legislators are present at all of these closed-door sessions and are free to pose questions. In fact, the rules allowed many of those who stormed Wednesday’s testimony to enter the room in a civilized fashion if they so chose. The impression Republicans tried to convey, of Democrats cooking up an illegitimate indictment of the president while locking all others out of the room, is a partisan fantasy.
Marginally more persuasive was a memo Senate Republicans released Thursday complaining that the full House had not formally voted on conducting an impeachment inquiry and that Mr. Trump is not allowed counsel in the room [Note: In the decision of whether to pass articles of impeachment akin to an indictment, the defense/president does not have a right to be in the room, just as criminal defendants are kept out of grand jury deliberations.] Neither is required by the Constitution or House rules. But holding a [formal] vote would add legitimacy, and, more to the point, the sooner House investigators move from closed hearings to open ones, the better. [This is coming in mid-November.] Citizens
should will learn the scope and gravity of the president’s misdeeds so they can form their own conclusions. House leaders should will release transcripts of closed hearings, consistent with the protection of classified material, as soon as possible.
Of course, all of this could happen sooner if the Trump administration were not stonewalling lawmakers’ legitimate requests for information.
Sen. Lindsey “Stonewall” Graham is motivated by only one thing in life: he wants to be perpetually elected to the Senate like his predecessor, notorious segregationist Strom Thurmond. He is willing to do and say whatever it takes. He is a man without any principles or convictions. He is the very definition of craven cowardice. He must be defeated by South Carolina voters in 2020 to end his shameful career.
BTW: Arizona’s own cowardly Senator Martha McSally signs on to resolution condemning Trump impeachment inquiry. Buh-bye, Martha.
Dana Milbank at the Washington Post writes, Could Lindsey Graham be any more obsequious?
Not quite two weeks ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed to be Trump’s “worst nightmare” and called the Syria pullout “irresponsible,” a “stain on America’s honor” and the “biggest blunder of his presidency.” He introduced legislation to sanction Turkey for invading Syria.
Trump’s reply? “I am the boss.” He publicly advised Graham to focus on other things — in particular, to go after Trump’s accusers.
Trump loyalists, led by Donald Trump Jr., launched a social media campaign against Graham, demanding he step up his attack on the impeachment process. Trump summoned Graham to lunch at the White House on Thursday to drive home the point.
See: Donald Trump Jr. And MAGA Twitter Are Pressuring Sen. Lindsey Graham To Defend Trump From Impeachment. Kowtowing to the president is one thing, but kowtowing to his idiot son’s band of deplorables and QAnon? They want the Stalinist show trials of Trump’s accusers in the Senate Judiciary Committee that “Stonewall” hinted at earlier this year. That is a hallmark of authoritarian despots.
And Lickspittle Lindsey obeyed. First, he said he was “impressed” that Trump is “thinking outside the box” on Syria. He reportedly shelved sanctions legislation. And on Thursday afternoon, he marched into the Senate TV studio to unveil a [meaningless] resolution attacking House Democrats over their impeachment proceedings.“
The attempted impeachment of President Trump is out of bounds,” he inveighed. “Star-chamber-type inquiry … a runaround … off-script … wrong … a rogue action … very dangerous.” He chopped the air. “If we were doing this, you’d be beating the shit out of us!” he shouted to a live television audience.
He even talks like Trump now.
Could he be any more shameful? Well, he held his news conference in the Capitol on Thursday afternoon at the same time the body of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a leader of the impeachment inquiry until his death last week, lay in statenearby. Cummings was the first African American lawmaker so honored, and impeachment proceedings halted out of respect. Graham didn’t.
This came two days after Graham, defending Trump, said impeachment “is a lynching in every sense.” Um, because an innocent Trump is being murdered by a racist mob solely because he has orange skin?
On Wednesday, Graham criticized House Republicans who stormed into a secure room shouting to disrupt impeachment proceedings. He said they were “nuts,” adding: “That’s not the way to do it.” Soon after came his inevitable tweet: “CORRECTION … I understand their frustration and they have good reason to be upset.”
Rounding out Graham’s week of walk-backs, Graham had told Axios he might consider impeachment if “Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo.” On Tuesday, Trump-appointed acting ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. detailed such a quid pro quo between Trump and the Ukrainian president trading military aid for political dirt. And Graham? He dismissed it as “hearsay.”
Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice called Graham a “piece of [same s-word Graham used]” during a podcast interview this week. Rather than join Graham and Trump in public vulgarity, I prefer to think of Graham as the weakest man in Washington. For years, he imitated McCain’s maverick streak. But he was no maverick. After McCain’s death, Graham found himself a new father-figure.
Graham famously called Trump a “nut job” and a “jackass” during the 2016 campaign. But Graham calculated that avoiding a primary fight required him to become Trump’s golf buddy. Graham told the New York Times’s Mark Leibovich that his courtship of Trump was “to try to be relevant.” Instead, Lindsey O. Graham put the “O” in oleaginous [adjective: exaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; obsequious].
Graham played down his hawkish line on Iran after a Trump scolding. After the Mueller report came out, Graham used his Judiciary Committee chairmanship to echo Trump’s talking points and to spread falsehoods. Graham bravely promised there would be “holy hell to pay” if Trump fired Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Trump later fired Sessions; Graham defended it.
Now he’s walking back his impeachment views. Twenty years ago, as a Clinton impeachment manager, Graham said a president’s failure to comply with subpoenas was impeachable because it “took the power from Congress.” Now the Trump administration is ignoring subpoenas wholesale — and Graham is attacking the lawmakers who issued them.
In his Thursday news conference, Graham couldn’t quite bring himself to exonerate Trump: “I don’t want to comment on substance,” he said. “I’m not here to tell you that Donald Trump has done nothing wrong.” He merely raged against procedures, arguing, “The process in the House today, I think, is a danger to the future of the presidency.”
ABC News’s Terry Moran reminded him that during Watergate, lawmakers took depositions behind closed doors before there was an impeachment resolution, just as the House is doing now.
Graham did not dispute this.
CNN’s Ted Barrett reminded him that during the Clinton impeachment, House Republicans took private depositions before public hearings. “Why was it okay then and not now?”
“The inquiry itself became very public,” Graham replied.
And so will this one — leaving Graham looking foolish once more.