The South Carolina senator claims he 'can't get over' unfounded allegations against the president's son, drummed up by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) is refusing to let go of unfounded allegations about Joe Biden's son Hunter.
Shortly after Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, Graham suggested in a CBS News interview that in order to "heal the nation," Hunter needed to be "looked at."
Referring to President Biden, Graham said, "I like you, I want to work with you. But nobody hesitated to send a wrecking ball to the Trump family. So all I can say is if you want to heal the nation, we need to start anew."
"If Mike Pence's son had been accused of doing the things that Hunter Biden did, you wouldn't be asking me does it hurt my relationship with Vice President Pence to make sure that these things are looked at," he said. "So, no, I like Joe Biden. But what I can't get over is the fact there are allegations about Hunter Biden and his brother monetizing the vice presidency and all of the sudden you're a bad guy if you want to let the process move forward."
Graham appeared to be referring to a number of baseless allegations against Hunter, pushed by Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that involve his business dealings in foreign countries.
Guiliani, along with Trump's allies, used unsubstantiated "innuendo and salacious material" about Hunter to try to politically damage Biden during the 2020 race, the New York Times noted.
Facing pressure in the run-up to the November election, Trump's Senate Republican allies released a September report on Hunter's "potential conflicts of interest" that supposedly revealed damning information about the now-president's son. But even that concluded it was unclear whether his role on the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma's board actually influenced U.S. policy in the country, according to the fact-checker PolitiFact.
In December, news broke on a federal investigation in Delaware looking into Hunter's business dealings in mainly China, but the probe in part emerged from Guiliani's questionable efforts to "orchestrate news" on Biden's son, CNN reported.
There has been no concrete evidence thus far of any nefarious dealings in Hunter Biden's work.
After Guiliani fed material to Trump-nominated U.S. Attorney Scott Brady, a second federal investigation in Pittsburgh, Pennslvania was opened. But no indictments have resulted from the probe, while its status was unclear as of December, according to a local Pittsburgh affiliate.
Biden himself has said that he is "confident" his son did nothing wrong.
For months, Graham has pushed for a full probe by a special counsel, saying in December that he is "absolutely calling for" one and thinks "it's a good idea."
Having served in the Senate together, Graham and Biden were known to be friends previously. The Republican lawmaker even said his Democratic colleague was "the nicest person I think I've ever met in politics" in a 2015 Huffington Post interview.
"If you can't admire Joe Biden as a person, then you've got a problem. You need to do some self-evaluation, because what's not to like?" Graham added.
In recent weeks, however, Graham has flip-flopped between backing Biden's election victory and rejecting him. His wild swings ranged from trying to block Biden's Electoral College certification, based on debunked claims of widespread voter fraud pushed by Donald Trump and Graham himself, to suddenly voting to certify it in the wake of a violent insurrection at the Capitol, sparked by those lies.
In November, Graham, who has been a staunch ally to Trump, said Trump "should not concede" after his presidential defeat. In an impassioned Jan. 6 floor speech following the attack on the Capitol, which left five dead, he had a dramatic shift in tone.
"Trump and I, we had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way. … all I can say is count me out. Enough is enough. I tried to be helpful," he said.
Graham even stated in a Jan. 7 press conference that Trump "needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution, that the rally yesterday was unseemly, it got out of hand."
But by the next week, he was back on Team Trump, joining him on board a flight on Air Force One to Texas.
Graham is one of a growing number of Republicans who have simultaneously urged for unity in the wake of Biden's win and swatted down any calls by the new president to do just that.
Despite urging togetherness and healing in his inauguration speech Wednesday, for instance, Biden was slammed for supposedly calling Republicans racist when he cited a "cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making" and stated that "our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart."
He also pushed the country to "reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured," an apparent reference to the Capitol insurrection, which was spurred on by white supremacist lies of a stolen victory in majority-Black cities.
"Much of it is thinly veiled innuendo calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book, calling us people who don't tell the truth," Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) claimed on Wednesday night.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.