Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham challenged the “double standard” he saw in play with regard to the transcript of President Donald Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Graham spoke to reporters Wednesday about the transcript, saying that he wanted to see the evidence on both sides: he wanted to see both the full whistleblower complaint and a further investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.
“The one thing I think has to be dealt with here is that the son of the vice president was receiving a lot of money from the Ukraine and some of the sources of the funds were under investigation by the prosecutor,” Graham explained, adding that he didn’t know the answers himself and that the only way to get the answers was to investigate further. (RELATED: Lindsey Graham Has Harsh Words For Dems Who Might Make Next SCOTUS Confirmation Ugly)
“How is it not inappropriate the president asked the president of another country to look into a political rival running for election possibly against him in the primary next year?” one of the reporters asked.
“I don’t know what you looked at,” Graham responded, apparently disputing the notion that Trump’s ask had been politically driven. “I think it’s appropriate for the President of the United States to suggest you had a corruption problem and the prosecutor that was fired maybe was because he was corrupt or maybe because he was looking at something close to America here. The vice president’s son was receiving money from the Ukraine. Was on the board of a company that was the subject of investigation. The question that got me going was did the President of the United States suggest to the Ukraine I will withhold money unless you go after my political rival. The answer is absolutely not,” he said.
Graham then reiterated his previous calls for investigations into everything and a full review of the evidence from both sides. “That is why I wanted the phone call to be released. I wanted Mueller to do his job and phone calls released. Now I want to know from the whistle-blower. Who told you about the phone call if you were not on it yourself? Who is it in the system that went to this person? Why did they pick this person to tell about a phone call? Why did the whistle-blower file a complaint he had no direct knowledge of?” Graham asked.
The South Carolina Senator repeated his assessment of the call and any further scrutiny that might be ahead for former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter.
“Did the president of the United States take money that was going to the Ukraine and threaten to withhold it if he did not get help in his reelection? The answer is no,” Graham said emphatically. “Did Joe Biden threaten to withhold money if you don’t fire somebody in the Ukraine? Yes. Maybe there is a good reason to do that but here is the elephant in the room: The person he asked to be fired was investigating companies your son was part of … From my point of view Joe Biden is a decent guy but there is a conflict here. It’s okay to talk about an obvious conflict.”
Another reporter pointed out the fact that there were others who had called for the prosecutor — the one who was the subject of Biden’s threats to withhold funding — to be removed, and that he had been accused of corruption by others
Graham pushed back, asking, “Did any of them have a family member working in the Ukraine? It may be justified this guy was corrupt. I know this: The person arguing for him to be fired had a conflict of interest. If you don’t see that conflict you are blind. If you don’t see that there is a double standard here when it comes to Trump and everybody else, you are blind. You are willfully blind. If this had been a Republican you would be asking what relationship did your son’s involvement in the Ukraine have to your decision to call for the guy to be fired?”
“I’m not accusing them of anything but there is plenty of conflict that somebody should look at,” Graham concluded.