Since his performance at Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been a vocal defender of President Trump’s agenda.
However, on Thursday, the South Carolina Republican broke with other Trump supporters by announcing that he will vote against having Hunter Biden appear as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial.
Graham goes rogue
“To my Republican friends, you may upset about what happened in Ukraine with the Bidens, but this is not the venue to litigate that,” he said. Graham indicated that he opposes the testimony because it would unnecessarily lengthen the trial.
Burisma is the Ukrainian oil and gas company whose board of directors Hunter Biden once held a lucrative position on. In 2016, Biden’s father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, bragged on camera about how he used the threat of withholding American aid in order pressure Ukraine into firing prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Shokin has said in a sworn affidavit that he was forced out for investigating Burisma.
As Democrats clamor for further witnesses to be called in the impeachment trial, — especially former National Security Adviser John Bolton — most Senate Republicans have countered that Hunter Biden should also be compelled to appear as a witness as well.
For Graham to keep Biden from appearing, then he will need at least three others from the Republican caucus to join him. “I need some Republicans who would say, as much as I want to know more about Burisma and the Bidens, this is not the venue. I’ve got to find four,” he stated.
As of yet, it’s not clear who those other senators would be. Potential candidates include known moderates like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mitt Romney (R-UT).
One figure who probably won’t be joining Graham is Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, who said last week that Trump’s team should be given wide latitude in who they wish to have appear as witnesses.
“The president gets to call anybody he thinks would be good for his defense, the prosecution can call who they want, but I don’t think we should selectively call witnesses that don’t like the president,” The Hill quoted Paul as saying.
Comments that were published in Newsweek indicate that Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is also open to compelling Biden’s testimony.
“I don’t think we need additional witnesses, but my point is, if we’re going to call witnesses, then there’s a number of folks I’d like to hear from,” Hawley said, adding that both Biden and the so-called whistleblower are people that he would be interested in hearing from.