Poor Lindsey Graham.
South Carolina’s senior senator has been getting trolled mercilessly this week on social media — and the media in general — for his apparently, uh, evolving views on impeachment.
Seems the former House prosecutor, who led the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, has rethought some of his earlier parameters for what constitutes removing a president from office.
For instance, this week Graham tweeted: “As to the whistleblower complaint — the transcript speaks for itself — no quid pro quo. The Democrats bought a pig in a poke.”
And: “What a nothing (non quid pro quo) burger.”
Yet 20 years ago, when pressing the case against Clinton, Graham dismissed that little technicality of actually finding that a crime was committed.
“You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role.”
Then there’s this. The Boston Globe asked Graham this week what exactly “quid pro quo” would look like.
He said that would be if President Donald Trump said, “Uh, hey pal, you know, you need to like, go after the Bidens or I ain’t gonna give you any money. Be really, like, thuggish about it.”
Which, hilariously, is kinda what Trump said, without explicitly saying it. Since he was withholding military aid to the Ukraine at the time.
And here’s what Graham said in 1999, explaining the lack of a smoking gun against Clinton.
“He doesn’t have to say ‘go lie for me.’ He doesn’t have to say ‘let’s obstruct justice’ for it to be a crime. You judge people on their conduct, not magic phrases.”
All these folks beating up on Graham are being just a tad unfair. They haven’t taken into consideration the fact that people have a right to change their minds.
For instance, here’s Graham on Trump before the 2016 election: “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”
And here is Graham a year later: “What concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook, not fit to be president.”
Can’t imagine why Graham is getting such a hard time. There's absolutely nothing inconsistent in any of this. Graham has a strict threshold for what constitutes impeachment.
That bar is set, obviously, based on which team the guy plays for.
And whether he plays golf with Graham.