Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has invited Rudy Giuliani to testify about Hunter Biden and Ukraine — but not in the way Republicans might have hoped.
In an appearance on CBS on Sunday, the pro-Trump Republican invited Giuliani to share what he found on a recent trip to Ukraine — as long as the testimony is kept separate from impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Graham’s allies in the GOP have urged him to use a looming Senate trial to turn the tables on impeachment, but the senator has refused to play along, saying he wants a quick and dignified proceeding instead.
“Well, I don’t know what he found, but if he wants to come to the Judiciary Committee — Rudy, if you want to come and tell us what you found, I’ll be glad to talk to you,” Graham said on Face the Nation, according to a transcript provided by CBS. “When it comes to impeachment, I want to base my decision on the record assembled in the House.”
An invitation for Rudy
With a floor vote on impeachment expected in the House this week, a debate has already begun over the rules and testimony in Trump’s Senate trial — placing a greater focus on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Graham, who have both expressed support for Donald Trump. After denying Republicans the opportunity to call witnesses like Hunter Biden and the so-called “whistleblower” during House proceedings, Democrats have begun pressuring Republicans to accept testimony and evidence that they hope will tip the scales against Trump.
But Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has shown little interest in presiding over a drawn-out process — to the chagrin of Democrats and Republicans both. Republicans have hoped that the trial would provide an opportunity to shift the narrative onto the Bidens and their dealings in Ukraine, which Giuliani has been investigating on a fact-finding mission in the country.
Giuliani was at the White House on Friday after returning from Ukraine with a “suitcase” of documents purporting to show corruption involving the Bidens, and at least nominally, Graham is open to letting Giuliani say his piece. Notwithstanding the invitation, Graham said that he wants to go off the record of evidence established by Democrats in the House — meaning that his invitation to Giuliani lies outside the official proceedings.
“We can look at what Rudy’s got and Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and anything else you want to look at after impeachment. But if Rudy wants to come to the Judiciary Committee and testify about what he found, he’s welcome to do so,” Graham said, according to The Hill.
Graham eyes a speedy trial
The Republican has made no effort to hide his desire to get the “circus” over with, much to the frustration of Republicans who had hoped Graham would do more to investigate the Bidens and their business dealings in Ukraine, or even the elusive “whistleblower.” Democrats have also begun to cry foul over promises by McConnell and Graham to hold a speedy trial ending with Trump’s acquittal, The Hill notes.
“I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process. So I don’t need any witnesses,” Graham told CBS. “The president can make a request to call witnesses. They can make a request or call [Vice President] Mike Pence and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. I am ready to vote on the underlying articles. I don’t really need to hear a lot of witnesses.”
Graham added that Joe Biden was “one of the most decent people I’ve ever met in my life” but that “this whole process around Ukraine reeks with politics.” The former vice president threatened that Graham was making the mistake of a lifetime after the Republican sent a letter to Pompeo last month requesting information about the Bidens — and Graham insisted to CBS that he wants to investigate them, just separately from impeachment.
In recent days, some House Republicans, like Matt Gaetz (R-FL), have tried to make Hunter Biden an issue in the impeachment, but to no avail, according to Fox News. Democrats in the majority have shot down any attempts by Republicans to call Biden to testify as they press onward with a full House vote this week.