Lindsey Graham defends investigating Biden because Biden once criticized McCain

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Meanwhile, Trump has often insulted McCain, but Graham continues to defend him.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) justified investigating former Vice President Joe Biden based on a debunked right-wing conspiracy by invoking Biden's past criticisms of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Last week, in his role as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham requested documents from the State Department, alleging Biden acted inappropriately "to end a [Ukrainian] investigation of the company employing his son," Hunter Biden. The claims have previously been debunked.

Graham's Senate-based investigation echoes the conspiracies that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has been pursuing around the world, including the parallel track of foreign policy that led to a holdup of Ukrainian foreign aid that triggered the impeachment inquiry.

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Graham was asked by reporters on Monday whether the decision was an effort to "muddy up the water for Joe Biden" while he is running for president.

"I hope there's nothing there there, I do like Joe Biden, I like him a lot, I think he's a fine man, I've traveled the world with him," Graham said. "But in 2008, when he was the running mate of Barack Obama, he fought hard against John McCain. That's the way it works in politics."

Graham echoed his press statement in a tweet, adding, "I believe Hunter Biden's association on the Burisma board doesn't pass the smell test."

Hunter Biden joined the company's board in 2014 and the hiring wasn't invoked as any sort of issue by Graham or other Republicans until Trump came under fire for his attempt to wield influence in Ukraine.

Graham's statement and unprompted invocation of McCain and the 2008 election appears to make it clear that the investigation has more to do with the Republican Party's 2020 presidential campaign than a Senate inquiry into wrongdoing.

While McCain and Biden had been friends for a long time before the 2008 campaign, Biden frequently criticized the conservative policies of McCain in contrast to those of Barack Obama.

"And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that's not change; that's more of the same," Biden said during the 2008 Democratic Convention.

Alongside Obama, Biden was part of the winning Democratic presidential ticket that overwhelmed McCain and running mate Sarah Palin in 2008.

Graham's invocation of McCain was also notable because while McCain and Graham were close friends, Graham has been mostly silent when Trump has continued to attack McCain, even after his death.

Asked by a CNN reporter in March about standing by Trump, even after Trump fumed about McCain's funeral being held in National Cathedral, Graham gave him a pass.

"I want to have influence with this president because he is president," Graham explained, noting that while "it's not OK" for Trump to attack McCain, his "bottom line here is I'm going to help President Trump."

During the 2016 election, Graham said Trump was a "race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot," but after Trump's win he said he was changing his tune to "try to be relevant."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.