On Tuesday, in a scathing op-ed, the Washington Post editorial board called out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for his ongoing refusal to acknowledge criminal behavior from President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal.
“Mr. Graham did say the other day that ‘if you could show me that, you know, Trump was actually engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing,'” wrote the board. “We think we can help the South Carolina Republican. Evidently he has not followed closely the depositions and documents collected by three House committees from present and former senior administration officials. If he had, he would see they contain clear proof that Mr. Trump, acting directly and through his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, repeatedly demanded a pledge from Mr. Zelensky to open those political investigations to obtain an Oval Office invitation. There is evidence that U.S. military aid was dependent on the probes, as well.”
The board noted the growing “chain of evidence” that Trump acted improperly, from “the testimony of two State Department officials about a May 23 meeting they had with Mr. Trump to discuss the newly formed government of Mr. Zelensky” who said that Trump complained Ukraine tried to “take me down,” to Ambassador Kurt Volker testifying that Giuliani “mentioned both the accusations about Vice President Biden and about interference in the 2016 election,” to the demand by Giuliani that Ukraine single out the company Hunter Biden worked for in their public statement, to Ukrainian envoy Bill Taylor testifying that he understood Trump’s words “to mean that Ukraine would not receive the much-needed military assistance” without cooperation.
“Mr. Graham and some other Republicans would portray the July 25 phone call as an isolated event in which Mr. Trump did not clearly conclude a quid pro quo with Mr. Zelensky,” continued the board. “But the evidence presented to Congress shows that the call was part of a process that extended over three months and included repeated and specific demands for Ukraine to undertake political investigations, including of Mr. Trump’s possible 2020 opponent, lodged by Mr. Trump and by the lawyer he told top aides to work with on the deal.”
“Mr. Graham is himself a lawyer and former military prosecutor. He surely can recognize this corrupt campaign for what it is,” the board concluded. “The question is whether he, and other Republicans, have the moral courage to do so.”