Graham's private attacks on Trump are just the tip of the iceberg — the whole GOP wanted to 'walk away': NYT reporter
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaking with attendees at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin said that newly revealed comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) predicting that Trump would be defeated by January 6 are indicative of a much broader desire within the GOP to move beyond Trump at that period.

Specifically, he argued, many other longtime GOP lawmakers were ready to "walk away" from Trump at that moment.

"You heard Senator Graham," said Martin. "He was not alone. A lot of lawmakers heard Trump mention Cheney by name and were appalled that he would do that before a crowd that turned out to be a mob. It put people's lives in jeopardy. She has to have security service because of the threats against her ... a lot of the climate that the GOP has fostered today, you can really trace back to that speech Trump gave the morning of January 6."

"A lot of people in the old guard thought that that would be the trigger," continued Martin. "Finally, it would be okay to walk away from Trump. The party would have had enough. It turns out that those leaders were wrong. They didn't get their votes. They were not tired of Trump. They are still happily in his embrace, Anderson, it was moments after — moments after that Liz Cheney says 'we need to impeach the son of a bitch,' she was surprised to find how few were willing to join her."

READ: Lindsey Graham caught on tape predicting America would rally against Trump after insurrection

Whatever unity existed in the main GOP wing against Trump that day, was short-lived. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) both voted against the impeachment proceedings, and both remain committed to Trump should he be re-nominated in 2024.

Liz Cheney was the only GOP congressional leader who followed through with her criticisms of Trump and voted for impeachment — but was removed from leadership a few months later.

Watch the segment or at this link.

Jonathan Martin says GOP was prepared to "walk away" from Trump after January 6