As Republicans watch House Democrats run roughshod over House rules and the Constitution with their secret impeachment tribunal, the party’s rank-and-file grows increasingly frustrated by the inaction of the Republican-controlled Senate.
Most of the criticism is aimed at part-time senator and perpetual Fox News guest Lindsey Graham; the South Carolina Republican is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a reportedly powerful body that has been missing-in-action on a variety of Democratic-sourced scandals.
On his show Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson lit into Graham for making empty promises about holding people accountable for the corrupt origins of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation as well as the recent controversy over the so-called Ukranian “whistleblower” complaint. (American Greatness has expressed similar frustration with Senator Graham.)
Carlson played a clip of Graham from March of this year promising to call to his committee culprits such as former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, among others, to find out what they did to undermine Trump’s candidacy and presidency.
“So far,” Carlson said. “Graham’s tenure has been defined by total inaction.” Carlson said Graham’s office has not responded to requests to appear on his program. (He often appears on “Hannity,” which airs after Carlson’s nightly show.)
On Tuesday, several conservative commentators started the hashtag #Where’sLindsey and it was trending for much of the day.
I contacted Graham’s senate office in Washington, D.C. and asked to speak with his press secretary. When I indicated the nature of my call, the office assistant referred me to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Wednesday morning, I received the following response from a committee spokeswoman:
Chairman Graham has been clear—repeatedly—he is waiting for [Justice Department] Inspector General Horowitz to deliver his report. When the report has been delivered and declassified by the Attorney General, Inspector General Horowitz will testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Graham is committed to transparency.” She continued. “If we called the IG and others to the committee before the report was out or declassified, they would be forced to answer many—simple or tough—questions with ‘Sorry we can’t discuss that, it’s classified.’ That is not a productive outcome.
As to why Graham hasn’t held any public hearings about Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s formal counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign, the spokeswoman again referred to the pending report by Horowitz. (The report is related to potential FISA abuse, not about how the investigation began in early 2016, or continued into mid-2017.) Horowitz’s report is finished and undergoing classification review at the Justice Department.
What about Graham’s promise to find out more about the Ukranian “whistleblower?”
Earlier this month, the spokeswoman noted, Graham invited President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to testify before the Judiciary Committee. That’s nice, but why not anyone from the intelligence community, including the inspector general under fire for his handling of the complaint and refusal to answer questions about his role.
And as far as holding anyone accountable for the false, and possibly criminal, attacks against Brett Kavanaugh more than a year ago—his spokeswoman reminded me that Graham just sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking for an update on four criminal referrals the committee made to the department . . . a year ago. The 2018 letter included potential crimes committed by Michael Avenatti and accuser Julie Swetnick.
The FISA report notwithstanding, there is absolutely no reason why Graham has not yet held one public hearing about the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign; the actions by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, including the raid on Roger Stone (another event Graham promised to examine); or the destructive and coordinated assault on Brett Kavanaugh.
House Republicans entered Rep. Adam Schiff’s secret lair today, demanding transparency and adherence to law and order. But instead of taking a cue from his House counterparts, Graham criticized their actions. According to a Wall Street Journal reporter, Graham called their intrusion “nuts” and insisted “that’s not the way to do it.”
Graham should spare pointing fingers at Republicans who are fighting back and start doing some counterpunching of his own.
UPDATE: Graham has now issued the following tweet:
I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.
Apparently it was a peaceful protest. Big difference.
I understand their frustration and they have good reason to be upset. https://t.co/39GLwGgrPq
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 23, 2019