Lindsey Graham changes tune on January 6th, defends Trump

 January 1, 2024

Senator Lindsey Graham (Sc.) is walking back his previous condemnation of January 6th, in a clear sign of Donald Trump's growing momentum heading into 2024.

Graham, an on-and-off supporter of Trump for years, came close to severing ties with Trump almost three years ago following the riot at the Capitol.

But in a new interview with CBS, Graham defended Trump, arguing he has a "legitimate claim" to dismiss criminal charges.

Graham walks it back....

Graham echoed one of Trump's key legal defenses - that he was following his official duty to make sure the 2020 election was "on the up and up."

“Yeah, it depends on what the conduct is,” Graham told Face the Nation.

“Now, if you’re doing your job as president — and January the sixth, he was still president trying to find out if the election, you know, was on the up and up — I think his immunity claim, I don’t know how it will bear out, but I think it’s a legitimate claim,” Graham continued.

Graham said Trump is being prosecuted for his passionate rhetoric - "giving a fiery speech" - and not his actions.

“They’re prosecuting him for activity around January the sixth. He didn’t break into the Capitol. He gave a fiery speech, but he’s not the first guy to ever do that,” Graham said.

Trump in charge

Graham predicted that the trial will be delayed past the election because of the complex legal issues involved in the first prosecution of an American president.

“So at the end of the day, I think this case will not go to trial before the election. I think there are more legal issues around this than you can even imagine about — what can a president do as president? What are the limitations of being president?”

It's a seismic shift from nearly three years ago, when Republicans - including Graham - made a half-hearted attempt to wash their hands of Trump.

"Count me out. Enough is enough,” Graham said at the time. "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected, and will become the president and the vice president of the United States on January 20th."

It looks like Graham has been watching the Republican primary, and he realizes that Trump is likely going to be the party's nominee for president in 2024.

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