Who is Lindsey Graham And Where Does He Stand On Impeachment?

Lindsey Graham, Trump’s Most Influential Defender in the US Senate.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Who Is Lindsey Graham?

Lindsey Graham is a senior Republican US Senator representing South Carolina. A three-term incumbent, Graham is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina in 1981, served in the US Air Force with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1982 - 1988. A chief prosecutor in Europe, he was stationed in West Germany. He later joined the Air Force Reserve and, in 2014, was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service.

From 1993-1995 Graham served one term in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He won the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat in 1995. He subsequently served four terms in the US House of Representatives. Graham won South Carolina’s open US Senate seat in 2002.

Graham briefly ran for President in 2015. He dropped out of the Republican primary race before the 2016 Primary elections began.

While serving in the Senate Graham has won many awards including the Judge Advocates Foundation Chief Justice John Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award and an Honorary “Doctor of Public Service” from Presbyterian College.

What Are Lindsey Graham’s Views On Impeachment?

On September 25 Graham told reporters, “To impeach any President over a phone call like this would be insane.” Graham was referring to the transcript memo of a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the call Trump asked Zelensky to “do me a favor”, requesting an investigation into Vice President Joe Biden amid withheld military aid. Graham added, “From quid pro quo aspect, there's nothing there”.

Although Graham has consistently defended the President from allegations of bribery and a political shakedown, the focus of his argument has evolved over time.

On Sept 25, 2019, Graham tweeted:

On the same day, Graham told reporters, If you were looking for a circumstance where the president of the United States was threatening Ukraine with cutting off aid unless they investigated his political opponent, you’d be very disappointed. That does not exist.”

On October 9, Graham tweeted:

In an October 20 interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, Graham suggested that he would consider it credible and incriminating of Trump, “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing."

On a November 6 gaggle with reporters, Graham said: “What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine. It was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to; they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.”

In that same gaggle, when asked if he planned on reading Transcripts of witnesses testimony from impeachment hearings Graham said, “No. I don’t care what anybody else says about the phone call. The phone call, I made up my own mind is fine. This is a bunch of BS.”

On November 27 Graham tweeted:

All of Graham’s comments on the impeachment of Donald Trump conflict with public statements he made during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton:

“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. Impeachment is about cleansing the office."

Where Is Lindsey Graham's Relationship With Donald Trump?

Graham, once considered a moderate Republican who was best friends with the late Senator John McCain and eager to reach across the aisle, wasn’t always a strident defender of Trump. An outspoken critic of the President during the 2016 Republican primary Graham tweeted:

Graham criticized Trump’s 2017 Muslim Ban. He denounced the President’s bigoted response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and he castigated Trump’s disparaging comments of recently deceased Senator John McCain.

In October 2017 Graham’s attitude toward the President began to shift. After a round of golf at Trump International Graham tweeted:

A mostly on-again, occasionally-off- again supporter of the President, Graham and Trump’s relationship is complicated.

After Trump unexpectedly pulled all US troops out of Syria in October, Graham told the US Special Representative for Iran, “My questions are really not about your policies, it's about this president’s policies. I could not agree more with Senator Markey. This is the most screwed up decision I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress.”

In a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Trump responded: “Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years with thousands of soldiers fighting other peoples’ wars. I want to get out of the Middle East. I think Lindsey should focus right now on Judiciary, like the Democrats.”

Graham defended Trump in January 2019 when he said that he did not think Trump was a racist. Trump attacked Democratic Congresswomen of color critical of him, tweeting: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

Graham later said: "I don't think a Somali refugee embracing Trump would be asked to go back. If you're racist, you want everybody to go back because they are black or Muslim."

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Which Committees Does He Belong To?

On January 10, 2019, Graham was elected Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Concurrently, the Senator also serves on the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, and Budget Committees.

Graham serves on the following subcommittees:

  • Judiciary Committee
    • Member – Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration
    • Member – Subcommittee on Intellectual Property
  • Appropriations Committee
    • Chair – Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
    • Member – Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies
    • Member – Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencie
  • Foreign Relations Committee
    • Chair – Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy
    • Member – Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International
    • Economic, Energy and Environmental Policy
    • Member – Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism

Previously Graham served on:

  • Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2003 – 2005)
  • Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry (2007 – 2009)
  • Select Committee on Intelligence (2007 – 2009)
  • Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (2007 – 2011)
  • Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (2009 – 2011)
  • Special Committee on Aging (2009 – 2013)
Graham is the co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus and a member of the International Conservation Caucus, the Sportsmen’s Caucus and Senate Oceans Caucus.

Graham’s Record In The Senate

Gang of Eight:
Graham was an original member of a Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of influential senators focused on the “four basic pillars” of immigration reform.

Snowden Controversy:
An outspoken critic of whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Graham authored an amendment to the “Fiscal Year 2014 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill” to levy sanctions against any nation that offered asylum to Snowden. The Senate Committee on Appropriations unanimously adopted the amendment.

Graham sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2015. The legislation would ban abortion nationally after 20 weeks of gestation. A once moderate voice in the Republican party, Graham said he is pro-life but argued that Roe v. Wade is legal precedent that should not be overturned without a valid reason.

Kavanaugh Hearing:
In September 2018 Graham vigorously defended President Trump’s controversial Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh against allegations of sexual assault. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party while they were both in high school. Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Graham made sure that he was the first to interview Ford and Kavanaugh during a public hearing. His support for Kavanaugh was unmoved by Ford’s testimony and he told reporters that he did not believe her recollection was accurate.

During the Venezuelan Presidential Crisis Graham called for a military invasion of Venezuela to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

Graham voted with seven other Republicans to block President Trump's Saudi arms deal.

In October Graham called on NATO to suspend Turkey from the alliance if they attack Kurdish forces in Syria. Kurdish fighters assisted the US on the ground in the war against ISIS.

At the request of the White House, Graham blocked a Senate resolution to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Graham sponsored the following bills this year:

  • National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act of 2019
  • Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2018
  • TESR Act
  • Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2016
  • A bill to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 83 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina, as the “J. Waties Waring Judicial Center”
  • Former Charleston Naval Base Land Exchange Act of 2012

When Is Lindsey Graham Up For Reelection?

Graham is up for reelection on November 3, 2020. Republican primary challengers hoping to unseat him face an uphill battle. They include Duke Buckner, Peggy Kandies, Michael LaPierre, and Joseph Reynolds.

If primary frontrunner and former chair of South Carolina’s Democratic party Jamie R. Harrison wins the Democratic primary, he could face off against Graham in the general election.

Shortly after eight-term Republican incumbent Strom Thurmond retired in 2002, Graham ran for the open seat in South Carolina. Unopposed in the Republican primary election, he defeated Democratic opponent Alex Sanders in the general election. Graham enjoyed 54% of the vote.

In 2008 Graham ran for reelection and defeated his Republican primary challenger with 67% of the vote and his Democratic adversary by just over one million votes.

In 2014, Graham’s future was in doubt due to low approval ratings. Graham effectively circumvented the efforts of potential Republican primary challengers and subsequently defeated Democratic candidate, State Senator Brad Hutto.

Personal Details

  • Age: 64
  • Birthday: July 9, 1955
  • Religion: Baptist
  • Spouse: Unmarried
  • Hometown: Central, South Carolina
  • Education: D.W. Daniel High School, University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina School of Law
  • Twitter: @LindseyGrahamSC

The Rantt Rundown

Lindsey Graham, a Senior US Senator representing the State of South Carolina also served as a Republican member of Congress. A decorated attorney for the US Air Force, Graham was stationed in Europe and was an Air Force reserve member while serving in Congress.

Graham considers himself a moderate Republican voice in the Senate. An occasional critic of Donald Trump, he’s also one of the President’s most outspoken defenders. Graham is the Chairman of one of the most influential Senate committees and is expected to take an active Senate role in the Trump impeachment process if and when articles of impeachment are adopted by the US House of Representatives.

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Rantt 101 // Impeachment / Lindsey Graham