Graham vows to investigate Trump critics in retaliation for impeachment
After speeding through Donald Trump's impeachment trial without calling a single witness, Senate Republicans are now vowing to launch investigations into the Bidens and the whistleblower who alerted Congress to Donald Trump's Ukraine quid pro quo.
Nearly every Senate Republican voted on Friday not to hear from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton or other fact witnesses, claiming they had to "get back to work."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox Business on Sunday that "in the coming weeks" the Senate Intelligence Committee "will call the whistleblower" and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently running for president.
"Why is it important? I want to find out how this crap started. If the whistleblower is a former employee of, associate of, Joe Biden, I think that would be important. If the whistleblower was working with people on [House Intelligence chair Adam] Schiff's staff that wanted to take Trump down a year and a half ago, I think that would be important," Graham said, suggesting unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.
"If the Schiff staff people helped write the complaint, that would be important. We're going to get to the bottom of all of this to make sure this never happens again," Graham added.
Graham's message to all the "Republicans out there" was that they should "expect us to do this. If we don't do it, we're letting you down."
The South Carolina Republican — who once called witnesses essential to an impeachment trial — had pushed to end Trump's impeachment trial quickly, saying "the sooner this trial is over, the better for the American people."
The Senate Republican Conference said last month they were "ready to proceed to trial" and would "then get back to work and focus on policy issues important to the American people."
The conference's chair, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) agreed, saying after the trial, Republicans would "focus on policy issues important to the American people. These include lowering health care costs, securing our borders, fixing roads and bridges and growing the economy."
Once it began, Republicans repeatedly portrayed it as a waste of their time. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) called the impeachment trial "the ultimate government shutdown right" last week.
His colleague, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said impeachment was "an impediment" and urged the Senate to instead be "thinking about how to lower the cost of insulin for a diabetic or how to do positive things for veterans in the US, because as long as we are focusing on impeachment, we aren’t doing anything else."
Now, as the trial comes to an end, it appears that at least some members of the Senate GOP are more interested in retaliation. And even before Trump's attempt to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals became public, the Senate was largely a legislative graveyard.
Over the course of 2019, its work consisted almost entirely of confirming Trump's nominees for government jobs and lifetime judgeships.
More than 400 pieces of legislation passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in 2019, but have been obstructed by McConnell in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had previously suggested, falsely, that impeachment was the reason nothing was getting done.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution: Josh Israel.