Lindsey Graham says impeachment is 'invalid' if the whistleblower doesn't get outed

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spent a lot of time defending Trump on Sunday morning.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) hit some Sunday shows to express his unyielding — and unfounded — devotion to the notion of Donald Trump's innocence. In doing so, he pitched some curious ideas, including the idea that he gets to decide what a valid or invalid impeachment might be.

Graham went on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" with Maria Bartiromo to explain his latest thinking on impeachment, kicking things off by complaining that it's Democrats who don't care about getting to the truth.

According to Graham, "any impeachment in the House that doesn't allow us to know who the whistle-blower is to be invalid, because without the whistle-blower complaint, we wouldn't be talking about any of this."

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This ignores that the whistleblower has offered to answer written questions, under oath, directly from Republicans. It lays bare that the GOP doesn't want the truth from the whistleblower — they just want the whistleblower's identity compromised. It also ignores the fact that much of what the whistleblower brought up in their complaint has been largely corroborated by other sources.

It's also not up to Graham to decide what a "valid" or "invalid" impeachment might be. If the House of Representatives votes to impeach Trump, that's by definition valid. And, as Graham is in the Senate, there's nothing he can do about it. He has every right to vote not to convict Trump when the matter reaches the Senate chamber, but he has nothing to do with the House's decision.

Graham went on to insist to Bartiromo, "I also see the need for Hunter Biden to be called to adequately defend the president" and if Biden isn't called, "it's a complete joke." As much as Graham and other Republicans wish to put Hunter Biden on trial rather than the president, the fact remains that even if Biden was determined to be a bad actor of some sort, that wouldn't excuse Trump's behavior. The proper way to investigate an American citizen — who also happens to be the son of your political rival — isn't to withhold foreign aid from a country until they assist you in the effort.

Graham also hit a local Sunday show, appearing on KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa. There, he said of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, "I made my mind up. There's nothing there." Given that Graham has said he won't even read the transcripts from witnesses who have been deposed in the impeachment hearing, he's quite devoted to ensuring nothing changes his mind.

Graham is going to keep moving the goalposts. If the whistleblower reveals themselves and testifies, that won't be enough. If the Democrats acquiesce to the ridiculous demand that Hunter Biden testify, that won't be enough. There doesn't appear to be any scenario under which Graham's faith in Trump can be shaken, even if that means destroying democratic institutions and norms to keep that faith alive.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.