Lindsey Graham: "Why Did They Change The Rules" Allowing Whistleblowers To Cite Hearsay? "This Thing Stinks"

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Senator Lindsey Graham joined CBS's "Face The Nation" host Margaret Brennan to talk about the impeachment inquiry launched into President Trump this week.

"This seems to me like a political setup," Graham said about the whistleblower report that led Democrats to launch the inquiry. "It's all hearsay. You can't get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay. The whistle-blower didn't hear the phone call."





"Every American deserves to confront their accuser. So this is a sham, as far as I'm concerned. I want to know who told the whistle-blower about the phone call. I want to know why they changed the rules about whistle-blowers not -- the hearsay rule was changed just a short period of time before the complaint was filed," Graham wondered.

He explained: "The complaint sounds like a legal document. Who helped him -- who helped this guy write it or this girl write it? We're not going to try the president of the United States based on hearsay."

"If Mueller wasn't a witch-hunt," he quipped. "This is -- The Salem witch trials have more due process than this... 'How do you know she's a witch?' 'Somebody told me she's a witch.' 'How do you know she's a witch?' 'I read articles thinking she might be a witch.' ... I don't think they're going to remove a man from office based on a hearsay accusation. And Bill Clinton was able to do two things at once, defend himself and govern the country. And that's my advice to President Trump."

BRENNAN: Big week here. But I want to begin where Nancy Pelosi just left off.

She lays out what she says is most problematic, the sequencing.

GRAHAM: Right.

BRENNAN: The president in this call record says...

GRAHAM: Right.

BRENNAN: ...would you do us a favor? He brings up the debunked myth about the DNC server. And then he brings up the Biden family and the need for an investigation. He repeatedly lays that out. And, also, the aid package is mentioned.

GRAHAM: Right.

BRENNAN: You have no problem with any of this?

GRAHAM: I have zero problems with this phone call.

BRENNAN: Even with that sequencing?

GRAHAM: I just told you I have zero problems with this phone call. There is no quid pro quo here.

But I do have a problem with Nancy Pelosi. If you believe that Donald Trump did something to hurt this country, you owe it to vote, not talk about impeaching the president. The only way to open up an impeachment inquiry is to vote.

We need a John Hancock moment from House Democrats. Quit hiding behind Nancy Pelosi. If you think the president did something wrong in this phone call, then vote to open up an article of impeachment inquiry. And a lot of House Democrats won't, because they're afraid.

BRENNAN: Well, putting that political calculus aside, I want to ask you about the content, though...

GRAHAM: Yes.

BRENNAN: ... of this conversation.

GRAHAM: Can I tell you about this conversation?

BRENNAN: Do you think it was ethical for...

GRAHAM: Yes.

BRENNAN: ... the president to bring up Joe Biden?

GRAHAM: Yes, absolutely.

I think somebody ought to look at whether or not Joe Biden had the prosecutor fired in an improper way. I love Joe Biden. I don't want to look at it. I want an inspector general, somebody like Mueller.

Did Biden know that his son was receiving $50,000 a month from a gas company being investigated by the prosecutor?

BRENNAN: Isn't that just...

GRAHAM: Wait a minute.

BRENNAN: ... his payment...

GRAHAM: Wait a minute.

BRENNAN: ... for being on the board?

GRAHAM: The...

BRENNAN: Do you have reason to believe...

GRAHAM: The board.

BRENNAN: ... it was anything more than that?

GRAHAM: The guy is on a board being investigated for corruption and the guy doing the investigation is asked to be fired by Biden.

I don't know what happened. It smells to high heaven. I never said the Mueller witch-hunt -- the Mueller investigation was a witch-hunt. I introduced legislation to protect Mueller.

This seems to me like a political setup. It's all hearsay. You can't get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay. The whistle-blower didn't hear the phone call.

BRENNAN: Right.

GRAHAM: Who told the whistle-blower...

BRENNAN: Which he says.

GRAHAM: ... about the phone call and everything else?

BRENNAN: He says...

GRAHAM: Donald Trump is...

BRENNAN: ... multiple White House officials were discussing it.

GRAHAM: ... still an American.

Every American deserves to confront their accuser. So this is a sham, as far as I'm concerned. I want to know who told the whistle-blower about the phone call. I want to know why they changed the rules about whistle-blowers not -- the hearsay rule was changed just a short period of time before the complaint was filed.

The complaint sounds like a legal document. Who helped him -- who helped this guy write it or this girl write it? We're not going to try the president of the United States based on hearsay.

Every American has a right to confront their accuser.

BRENNAN: You wanted the president to release this partial call record.

GRAHAM: I did.

BRENNAN: But you're saying this is hearsay. The complaint, on a number of fronts, is matched by the call record.

GRAHAM: The transcript and the complaint are not matched...

Now, wait a minute.

BRENNAN: The reference to the DNC server.

GRAHAM: Please, let me talk...

BRENNAN: The "will you do a favor?"

GRAHAM: Please, please.

BRENNAN: I'm laying out the facts here.

GRAHAM: No, you're not.

BRENNAN: The repeated...

GRAHAM: No, you're making an argument that...

BRENNAN: ... reference to Joe Biden.

GRAHAM: Here's the point.

BRENNAN: All of those things are laid out here.

GRAHAM: Joe Biden went to the...

BRENNAN: The fact that the attorney general was brought up.

GRAHAM: Never mind.

You know, you've got an opinion. And I have got an opinion. You've got me on the show to tell me what -- what I think.

I think Mueller did a good job for the country and there was nothing there. I think this whole thing is a sham. I can't believe we're talking about impeaching the president based on an accusation based on hearsay.

Who is this whistle-blower? What bias do they have? Why did they pick this whistle-blower to tell a hearsay story? The transcript does not match the complaint. What's going on here?

Why did they change the rules about a whistle-blower, you can use hearsay, when you used to could not, just weeks before the complaint?

So I think this thing stinks. And let me tell you about Republicans. You want to know about Republicans? Republicans believe that you're guilty just by an accusation. If you're Brett Kavanaugh, it doesn't matter. They don't tell you when it happened and where it happened. It just happened 30 years ago.

If you're Donald Trump you don't get to confront your accuser, like every other American. Republicans believe this president is being persecuted. They don't love Donald Trump and the way he does business. They like what he does, but they believe he's being persecuted.

They believe that everybody's out to get him. And I believe, as to this complaint, it smells.

BRENNAN: So the acting director of national intelligence, who was put in that job by the Trump administration...

GRAHAM: Yes.

BRENNAN: ... said he believed that the whistle-blower was...

GRAHAM: No, he did not.

BRENNAN: ... acting in good faith.

GRAHAM: No, he did not. He said they couldn't question his motives.

BRENNAN: Right...

GRAHAM: But he didn't know if it was true or not.

So, Adam Schiff read the transcript in a way that everybody would believe that Trump's guilty. The DNI did not say he could confirm this...

BRENNAN: no.

GRAHAM: He didn't know -- he didn't have any reason to believe the -- the whistle-blower's doing anything wrong.

What I want to know, who told the whistle-blower about the transcript? Who told the whistle-blower about a phone call between the president of the United States and a foreign leader?

BRENNAN: He...

GRAHAM: This is the third time a phone call has been compromised.

BRENNAN: Right.

GRAHAM: I have read the transcript. I'm fine with it. But I'm not fine with this president being impeached based on hearsay.

Every American should be able to confront their accuser, including Donald Trump.

BRENNAN: But the whistle-blower here says that multiple White House officials conveyed this to him.

GRAHAM: Who are they?

BRENNAN: And the fact...

GRAHAM: Who are they...

BRENNAN: ... pattern was laid out.

GRAHAM: What bias do they have?

BRENNAN: But just to move on to another point, but I...

GRAHAM: No, wait a minute. Let's stop right there.

The whistle-blower says, "I have no direct knowledge."

BRENNAN: Right.

GRAHAM: "Multiple White House officials told me this."

BRENNAN: Yes.

GRAHAM: "They tell me about a phone call. There's a disconnect."

Who are these people, and what are they up to? You know, this is -- Mueller wasn't a witch-hunt, but this is -- Salem witch trials have more due process than this.

BRENNAN: Why...

GRAHAM: Due process than this.

BRENNAN: Do...

GRAHAM: How do you know she's a witch? Somebody told me she's a witch.

BRENNAN: What do you think...

GRAHAM: How do you know she's a witch?

BRENNAN: Do you think the president's...

GRAHAM: I read articles thinking she might be a witch.

BRENNAN: Do you think the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is advising him on this? Should he be out there publicly calling for the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden?

GRAHAM: Why don't you ask him? He's going to be on. Corruption abounds in the Ukraine.

BRENNAN: If he's doing a good job?

Do you think he's being advised -- advising the president well?

GRAHAM: Here's what I think.

I think nobody's asking about Joe Biden calling for the guy to be prosecuted -- fired who's looking into a board that his son sits on.

BRENNAN: Right.

GRAHAM: And did Joe Biden know that his son was receiving $50,000 when he asked for the prosecutor to be fired?

BRENNAN: You know this prosecutor, though, because I know you cover Ukraine, and you watch Russia very closely.

GRAHAM: People say he's dirty.

BRENNAN: You know that he -- yes, exactly.

GRAHAM: Yes, but you know what?

BRENNAN: Not just the United States, the U.K., IMF.

GRAHAM: Did Joe Biden Know? Would you ask...

BRENNAN: Other international organizations.

GRAHAM: Would you ask somebody this?

Did Joe Biden know that his son was sitting on a board being investigated for corruption, and the guy doing the investigation, Joe Biden said, if you don't fire this guy, I will cut a billion dollars of aid off?

Now, why am I asking that? A lot of Republicans don't believe "The New Yorker" and the political fact-checkers are really an adequate substitute.

I'm all asking is, due to Joe Biden's scenario, what you did for Trump, find somebody, not me, outside of politics to look and see if it makes sense. I love Joe Biden as a person, but we cannot give...

BRENNAN: Should that go...

GRAHAM: ... Democrats a pass and go after Republicans.

BRENNAN: Well, our Paula Reid is reporting that Attorney General Bill Barr was quite upset to see his name linked in that transcript to this call for an investigation. He's link there to Rudy Giuliani.

GRAHAM: Well, you need to talk -- here's what -- right.

BRENNAN: You have oversight. Have you asked the attorney general if he was asked to investigate?

GRAHAM: Yes, I did. I said, have you ever talked to Trump about anything in the Ukraine for corruption? No. Did the president ever ask you to call anybody in the Ukraine? Did he ever mention going after Joe Biden? No.

So this is a phone call between two presidents, one just getting reelected -- just got elected. Congratulations. We are very generous to the Ukraine. Other countries like Germany should do more. And, oh, by the way, I have heard that this prosecutor that got fired, maybe he was a good guy and they fired him because he was looking at Joe Biden's son. Could you look into that? Congratulations.

That, to me, is not a quid pro quo. And the entire whistle-blower complaint is based on hearsay. And we're not going to impeach a president based on hearsay as long as I'm around. This is a sham. There's a political smell to this that's far different than Mueller.

BRENNAN: What did you tell the president when you were golfing with him yesterday? Are you advising him?

GRAHAM: Work with Blumenthal and Murphy on guns. Keep fighting back. We have your back on this.

I'm openly telling everybody in the country I have the president's back, because I think this is a setup. Work with us on guns. Try to do something on prescription drugs. Govern the country. And make Iran pay a price.

You had a measured response when they shot down the drone. It didn't work, Mr. President. They're running wild, the Iranians. Put them back in a box. Try to be a good president. Defend yourself.

And that's what Bill Clinton did. These numbers you saw...

BRENNAN: Right.

GRAHAM: ... the only thing I can tell you, Americans are fair. And if they believe President Trump did something troubling, they'll account -- they'll account for that.

But I don't think they're going to remove a man for office based on a hearsay accusation. And Bill Clinton was able to do two things at once, defend himself and govern the country. And that's my advice to President Trump.

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