This is what happens when sycophancy overrides anything resembling common sense or responsible governance.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is showing that he is not an honorable man. He is not a reliable friend of law and order. He is beholden to a central, authoritarian figure in Donald Trump, as well as the Trump family, and such allegiances do not mesh with a republic built for the people, by the people.
I’ll go further and add that if Mr. Graham is so opposed to the rule of law, at least when partisan interests are involved, then perhaps he is poorly suited for the position he now holds, and he should look into another line of work.
This is the backdrop: A week ago, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, prompted by the committee chairman, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, subpoenaed the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr to appear before the committee to give additional testimony about his communications with Russians during the 2016 election season.
You thought all the Russia kerfuffle was over?
Specifically, they want to question Jr about the testimony he gave in September 2017 to the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the probe.
According to a transcript released by the committee, Trump Jr. said he was “peripherally aware” of plans to expand his father’s businesses into Russia. But Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified before Congress in February that Trump Jr. was far more involved than that in talks to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Cohen said that he briefed Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, about 10 times about the project.
This is where the usual Trump-drunk suspects start howling and frothing about Michael Cohen being a liar, a convicted felon, and so on.
Michael Cohen is all of those things, and he woke up in prison this morning because of it.
At the point when Cohen gave his testimony, however, he was already convicted. He had nothing to gain and nothing to lose by laying it all on the line.
With that in mind, we must recall just how many players within Trump’s circle have been nabbed for lying to authorities, along with other corrupt activities.
We know for a fact that Donald Trump Jr lied about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian officials, as well as about the cover statement his father crafted for him to tell, while aboard Air Force One.
A sitting U.S. president advised a witness in a federal investigation to lie.
That knowledge is only made worse by the fact that this was a man telling his son to lie to authorities, with no regards to how this could potentially harm him, in the long run.
I get it. The partisans of the GOP are rankled. They see 2020 around the corner, and it’s not looking very good for them. They allowed Trump to damage their brand, and at this point, they either have to abandon him en masse or forge ahead and take the political hits.
Senator Graham, once a man who boldly warned of the ruin a Trump presidency would cause, is now completely on board with the Trump Train, and he doesn’t mind that rot and ruin so much, now.
On Monday, he suggested Jr defy Congress.
“You just show up and plead the Fifth and it’s over with,” Graham told reporters, referring to the amendment that protects citizens from self-incrimination, according to The Washington Post.He added that Trump Jr.’s lawyer would “have to be an idiot” to allow him to testify before the committee again.
Graham had said a day earlier on Fox News that Trump Jr. should simply ignore the summons.
You’re a member of the senate. This is a breathtaking level of disrespect for their duties. And yes, pleading the Fifth is a right Americans have, but for a sitting senator to work against the legislative branch of the U.S. government, all for partisan benefit is unconscionable.
Of course, Graham isn’t the only Trump pet to take such a defiant stance in defense of their authoritarian overlord.
“The Mueller Report cleared @DonaldJTrumpJr and he’s already spent 27 hours testifying before Congress,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is up for reelection in 2020, tweeted last week. “Dems have made it clear this is all about politics. It’s time to move on & start focusing on issues that matter to Americans.”
Believe it or not, this matters to some Americans, Mr. Tillis, and some of us are in a position to vote against you.
Some of you may have seen the video of Lindsey Graham during the time period when then-President Bill Clinton was under investigation.
"He encouraged people to lie for him. He lied. He obstructed justice. I think there's a compelling case that he has, engaged in conduct that would be better for him to leave office than to stay in office." Lindsey Graham…20 years ago #LindseyGrahamResign pic.twitter.com/0syTUcWxuo
— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) May 14, 2019
“He doesn’t have to say ‘go lie for me,’ for it to be a crime. You don’t have to say ‘let’s obstruct justice’ for it to be a crime. You judge people on their conduct, not magic phrases” Senator Lindsey Graham #LindseyGrahamResign pic.twitter.com/IVx0xAJ5Jd
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) May 14, 2019
Basically, Lindsey Graham is loading the gun for Democrats, because they’re taking his words from the Clinton era and applying them now.
For Graham, it’s ugly. It is so very ugly.
It’s not surprising to see #LindseyGrahamResign trending on social media, today. And while I know it’s being heavily pushed by Democrats, who have their own partisan intent, I can’t find any ground to defend a senator who advises a witness to defy our government and our system of laws for purposes no more noble than to protect a cult-figure presidency.
Republicans should remember this when the shoe is on the other foot. It will happen again.