Tag Archives: Lindsey Graham

Trump has cast a weird spell over the GOP

I will be mystified likely forever, as in for the rest of my life on Earth, at how Donald Trump has managed to hijack the Republican Party.

It manifests itself in the amazing 180-degree turnaround of at least two former prominent foes of the president.

I want to highlight briefly the amazing about-face performed by two U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas. To be fair, not all Republicans have swilled the Kool-Aid from Trump’s dispenser. Freshman U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah is one who remains (more or less) faithful to his 2016 declaration that Trump is a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Graham and Cruz? That’s another matter.

I have attached a link from CNN.com that illustrates what Sen. Cruz said in 2016 about his Republican Party primary opponent, Donald John Trump. Read it here.

Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar.” He blistered Trump then over that hideous allegation that Cruz’s father might have been complicit in President Kennedy’s murder and of course the ghastly tweet involving Heidi Cruz, the wife of the senator.

These days Cruz sings from an entirely different political hymnal. He’s one of the president’s closest allies in the Senate. He follows Trump step for step into whatever the next adventure brings.

It’s not nearly as dramatic a reversal as the one Sen. Graham has performed.

During the 2016 primary campaign, in which Graham was another Trump foe, he called the eventual GOP nominee everything short of being the Son of Satan. Unfit for office. A liar. Amoral. Architect of party ruination. You name it, Graham said Trump fit the bill. It was all bad, man.

Now that Trump is POTUS, Graham has become arguably the Senate’s most vocal Trump apologist. It’s as if, as Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George F. Will has said, he became “an invertebrate.” He lost his spine, not to mention body parts common among males … if you get my drift and I’m sure you do.

There’s also this: Graham led the impeachment effort against President Clinton in 1998 while serving in the House, which then impeached Clinton on charges that are far less egregious than the allegations that have been leveled against Donald Trump.

Go … figure!

All this leads me to wonder out loud: How in the world did this carnival barker, con man, charlatan, fraudulent liar cast such a lasting spell over politicians who make up the guts of what used to be a great American political party?

I do not get it.

Sen. Graham to Don Jr.: Go ahead, break the law

It looks as though the Twitter Universe is abuzz with demands that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham resign his public office. Why?

Well, the senator — who once served as a judge advocate lawyer for the U.S. Air Force — has invited Donald J. Trump Jr. to break the law.

He told Don Jr. that it’s all right with him — Sen. Graham — if the president’s oldest son wanted to ignore a subpoena to appear before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Yes sir, there you have it.

Graham has said it’s OK for Don Jr. to ignore a duly constituted congressional committee’s order to do what it demands, which is to testify under oath about the ongoing matter involving Daddy Trump’s relationships with Russian government officials and business leaders.

You know what? I think I’m going to weigh in on that one, too.

Yeah, Graham ought to resign. He chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, for criminy sakes! Graham should not ever tell a potential witness to stiff a congressional committee chairman’s demand that he testify before the panel.

Graham has done an amazing pirouette regarding the Donald Trump. Back when he and Trump were competing for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Graham called Trump “unfit” for the presidency; he called him a liar and charlatan. Then he got beat for the nomination and now has sided with Trump, suggesting that the investigations into Trump’s dealings all are part of a campaign to destroy his presidency.

The only Graham hasn’t said, of course, is that he was wrong to say those nasty things about Trump back when they were political adversaries. That’s right. Graham is quiet on the quality of Donald Trump’s character.

Still, he is as wrong as he can possibly be to tell Donald Trump Jr. to break the law.

Sen. Graham needs to quit.

Sen. Graham embodies GOP hypocrisy on impeachment

I want to stipulate up front that I do not favor impeaching Donald J. Trump, at least not at this moment. I need more “proof” that he has committed an impeachable offense than what we’ve seen to date.

However, I am laughing out loud at the talk we’re hearing from Republican members of Congress who are performing a remarkable act of duplicity while ignoring the issues surrounding Trump’s troubles. These matters mirror in many instances the same issues that drove them to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1999.

The star of this duplicitous comedy is Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Two decades ago, he was a House member from South Carolina. He “managed” the GOP impeachment effort on the floor of the House; Graham, after all, is a lawyer who at the time of President Clinton’s impeachment served as a judge advocate attorney in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

He argued passionately that lying was an impeachable offense. Yes, the president committed perjury by swearing to tell a grand jury the truth, but then lied about his relationship with what’s-her-name.

The much younger Rep. Graham, though, took it farther. He said that efforts to block congressional inquiry into those matters were impeachable. Yes, he said that the Clinton team’s alleged effort to impede the congressional inquiry constituted a “high crime and misdemeanor” worthy of impeachment.

Isn’t that precisely what is happening now? Donald Trump has instructed his entire White House team to resist subpoenas being issued by various House committees. He even is seeking to block someone who no longer works in the White House — former WH counsel Don McGahn — from testifying. The president — to borrow a time-honored term born during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s — is “stonewalling” Congress on various matters that lawmakers deem important.

Where does Sen. Graham and most of his GOP colleagues stand on all of that?

Huh? Oh! The silence is deafening.

Sen. Graham finds himself in a difficult place

I want to play out a possible political scenario that involves two close friends who happen to be members of competing political parties.

Democrat Joe Biden, the former vice president and U.S. senator, is facing questions about how he has interacted with women over the years. Some of them have complained about feeling “discomfort” because of Biden’s hands-on manner of greeting individuals.

You know the story by now. Some women have complained that Biden got a little too close for comfort. Biden has explained that he made no sexual advances on them. He said that is the way he is, but added that he recognizes that social norms have changed. “I get it,” he said.

The other fellow is his good friend, Republican Lindsey Graham, with whom Biden served in the Senate before becoming VP in 2009. Graham also is a close political ally of Donald Trump, against whom Biden might run in the 2020 presidential election.

Graham’s friendship with Biden appears — to me at least — to be much more genuine than his alliance with Trump. Indeed, just before he left office in 2017, President Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom and quoted Sen. Graham as saying about Biden, “If you can’t admireJoe Biden as a person, you’ve got a problem. He is as fine a human being as God ever created.”

Graham just recently talked about his longtime friendship with Biden while giving him the benefit of the doubt over the “too close” allegations that some women have leveled against him.

What will happen if Biden becomes the Democratic nominee for president and runs against Donald Trump? Will the president lean on his ally to savage the former VP? If he does, would Lindsey Graham take the bait?

Do personal friendships get in the way at times of political reality?

Yeah . . . they certainly do.

Hoping new AG lets Mueller finish his task

I have hope that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has some deep inside knowledge that he’s now sharing with us.

The South Carolina Republican says that Attorney General-designate William Barr is going to let special counsel Robert Mueller finish the job he began more than a year ago. His task is to determine whether the allegations of “collusion” between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system are true; he also is examining allegations of obstruction of justice, of conspiracy and perhaps all kinds of matters related to the 2016 election and beyond.

Trump selected Barr to succeed Jeff Sessions as AG, whom the president fired because he had the gall to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Sessions had the good sense to recognize potential conflicts of interest, given his role in the campaign and in the transition. He couldn’t investigate himself, so he handed it off to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who then appointed Mueller as special counsel.

Mueller is getting down to brass tacks, or so we are being led to believe. He has extended the term of a grand jury another six months. Mueller reportedly will finish his probe in late February or in March.

He needs to conclude this investigation on his own terms, under his own power and without interference from the new AG, or the White House or the president himself.

Rosenstein reportedly is going to leave DOJ after Barr gets confirmed. Barr will testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I am quite sure senators will ask him directly whether he intends to let Mueller do his job. Sen. Graham says he will.

Don’t tease us, Sen. Graham.

GOP facing a familiar set of impeachable standards

If it comes down to an impeachment of Donald J. Trump, many of the congressional Republicans who are defending him now will have to face down their former selves.

One of them is U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who in 1998 led the House impeachment team that brought charges against President Bill Clinton.

It was a time when then-Rep. Graham said that the House didn’t need to have a high crime and misdemeanor to determine whether a president had debased his high office. He made the case that President Clinton had debased and disgraced the office through his affair with a young White House intern.

It turned out that the GOP found a crime on which to impeach the president: perjury. Clinton spoke falsely to a grand jury about that relationship. House GOP members said that you just can’t allow a president to break the law.

If we now fast-forward to the present day we have another president who might have broken the law. He might have authorized illegal payments to two women to keep them quiet about sexual encounters he had with them.

Graham and other Republicans have reset the bar. It’s much higher now than it was when they had a Democratic president in their crosshairs.

However, even the president’s own lawyer — Rudolph Giuliani — says that Trump likely broke the law with the payments. Is that an impeachable offense? Will Republicans who once impeached a Democratic president for arguably an equal crime be able to do the same with a president from their own political party?

This is where we might be able to see what wires certain members of the House of Representatives.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to see the final report from special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump keeps insisting that Mueller doesn’t have anything. We’ll just have to see about that.

Graham: New AG ‘comfortable’ with Russia probe

Lindsey “The Lap Dog” Graham, a South Carolina Republican U.S. senator who once dared to challenge Donald Trump’s competence and moral standing, now says the president’s new attorney general is comfortable with an investigation under way into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives in 2016.

OK, then. How in the world are we supposed to believe that.

Acting AG Matthew Whitaker is on record calling special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and a “fraud.” Trump appointed him as acting attorney general after firing Jeff Sessions solely because Sessions recused himself from the Russia matter.

Now the senator wants us to believe (a) that Whitaker is OK with Mueller’s probe and (b) the president won’t order Whitaker to give Mueller the axe.

I don’t believe the first thing. The second matter, whether Trump will commit a supremely foolish act, is anyone’s guess. No one can predict what the president will do, not even Sen. Graham.

Whitaker’s appointment to lead the Justice Department fills me with dread. I fear the president will move to coerce Whitaker into forcing Mueller out. I also fear that Whitaker will do the president’s bidding. The result of all this will produce the mother of constitutional crises; believe me when I say that I do not want that to happen.

Moreover, given Sen. Graham’s dramatic change of heart regarding the president, I am disinclined to believe anything he says as well. Back when he was running against Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, he spoke candidly about Trump’s credentials for the nation’s top job — or, more to the point, the absence of credentials.

Then Trump vanquished him. He got elected president. Now the senator has been slobbering all over Trump’s shoes, seeking to please him, possibly because he wants to become attorney general.

Is the senator to be believed now? I don’t think so.

Meanwhile, the Russia drama continues to play out.

I’ll just implore the powers that be — one more time! — to let Robert Mueller do his job. Let him finish his work.

Where is Sen. Graham’s spine?

What in the name of political courage has become of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican that I used to admire.

Graham at one time issued a stern warning to Donald J. Trump, saying the president would have “hell to pay” were he to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Well, Trump fired Sessions on Wednesday, the day after the midterm election. Graham’s message was, shall we say, decidedly less confrontational.

“I look forward to working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor so that we can start a new chapter at the Department of Justice … ” Graham said in one of the more milquetoast-y statements in recent memory.

He also once said that any effort to remove special counsel Robert Mueller, derailing his exhaustive investigation into the Russian attack on our electoral system in 2016 could “be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency.”

Guess what, senator. Sessions’s firing and the elevation of Matthew Whittaker as acting AG just might bode poorly for the future of Mueller’s probe.

I should note that Graham was one of a horde of Republicans who ran against Trump for the GOP nomination in 2016. Back when they were foes, Graham spoke rough and tough about Trump, just as so many other foes did. Trump beat them and now they have become sycophants, yes men.

I am believing they are cowed by the president, who has hijacked a party with which he had zero affiliation before he ran for the nation’s highest office.

That includes Lindsey Graham.

I’ll just call it what it is: chickensh**!

Birthright citizenship far from ‘absurd’

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is trying to cover Donald Trump’s backside with a plan to introduce legislation in the Senate to reverse a constitutional amendment that provides U.S. citizenship to anyone born inside the United States of America.

Nice try, senator.

Trump declared his desire to issue an executive order that would end the right of instant citizenship to anyone born here. The big problem facing the nutty idea is that the rule comes to us in the form of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was proposed in 1866 and ratified in 1868.

Now it’s an “absurd” notion, according to Sen. Graham, who wrote in a Twitter message: “Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform — at the same time — the elimination of birthright citizenship.”

Graham jumps in

In order to amend the Constitution, this legislation needs a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress and must be ratified by three-quarters of the 50 states. It is a steep hill to be sure.

It’s also a ridiculous and gratuitous attack on a U.S. tradition that has been part of the law of the land for 150 years.

Donald Trump has sought to demonize all illegal immigrants, even those who were brought here as children by their parents — and now those who were born here to parents who came this country illegally. He suggests that all illegal immigrants come here to do harm, to commit crimes, to perform terrible acts of violence.

This is the answer? This is the solution?

No. It isn’t.

Good grief, if we’re going to get tougher on illegal immigration, then let’s use existing laws and modernize security policies. We don’t need to build a wall along our southern border.

Nor do we need to repeal the clause contained in an existing amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Such flipping and flopping on AG Sessions

“We need an attorney general that can work with the president, that can lead the Department of Justice. This relationship is beyond repair, I think.”

So said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who in an earlier incarnation said something quite different about the president of the United States.

Graham said in the not-too-distant pass that there would be “hell to pay” in Congress if Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

I actually agree with both things that Graham said. Yes, there will be “hell to pay.”

Also, the president must be able to work with the AG, but working with someone doesn’t necessarily require total, blind and unabiding fealty to whatever the top man wants.

Sessions has taken an oath to follow the law, just as the president has taken a similar oath. To my mind, Sessions followed the law when he recused himself from the Russia probe, given the obvious conflict of interest that would have existed had Sessions led an investigation into alleged collusion between Russians and the Trump presidential campaign. Sessions was a key player in the Trump campaign, so there was no way on Earth that Sessions could investigate himself.

Graham, himself a lawyer and an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, knows that as well.

I don’t believe Sessions will be on the job by the end of the year. I also believe Donald Trump is foolish enough to fire him and open himself up to accusations of obstruction of justice.

Yes, there will be “hell to pay.”