Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would consider supporting impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump if he were provided with proof that a crime had taken place.
“Sure. I mean … show me something that … is a crime,” Graham said in an interview with Axios on HBO last week. “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.”
Axios reported about Graham’s role in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and what could be an upcoming test of his loyalty to Trump: “Graham was a fiery House prosecutor during the 1998 impeachment trial of President Clinton. Now that Graham is in the Senate, he’ll vote to acquit — or remove — Trump if he’s impeached by the House.”
But Graham said that the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not meet the “crime” criteria.
“I’ve read the transcript of the Ukrainian phone call,” Graham said. “That’s not a quid pro quo to me.”
“Kevin Bishop [a Graham staffer], said Friday that Graham still has not heard or seen anything that he deems impeachable,” Axios reported. “Graham said he’s changed his view of Trump’s character since opposing him during the 2016 primaries.”
“I’ve got to know him, and I find him to be a handful,” Graham said. “I find him to be an equal opportunity abuser of people.”
“But at the end of the day, he can be very charming and be very gracious, and I’m judging him by his conduct,” Graham said, adding that while he opposes U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, he likes Trump’s domestic policies.
“So you play the ball as it lies,” Graham said.
Graham has been a reliable ally of Trump, including during the contentious confirmation hearings of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.