According to a new book from Politico’s Rachael Bade and the Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian, Republican leaders worked behind the scenes to orchestrate the defense of Donald Trump in both of his impeachment trials despite the fact that they were expected to act -- and vote -- later as his jurors.
As Igor Bobic reports for the HuffPost, the book, "Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” details errors and missteps on both sides of the aisle when it came to both of the former president's impeachments, but, unsurprisingly, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) takes center stage as Trump's staunchest defender.
According to the book, a blow-up with Trump's legal team caused Graham to "fume" that they were fumbling their defense of Trump over his "quid pro quo" phone call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy which led to Graham's tirade in the Senate cloakroom.
Using excerpts from the book, Bobic wrote, "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also fumed at Trump’s legal team after they fumbled responding to a senator’s question about calling new witnesses. Trump’s attorneys said that it was simply too late to do so, a line Graham worried would lose Republican votes."
“We are F*CKED. We are F*CKED!” Graham, reportedly exclaimed after storming out of the meeting and into the cloakroom.
The HuffPost report adds, "Publicly, many GOP senators refrained from commenting on the substance of the proceedings, telling reporters doing so would be inappropriate because of their responsibility to remain neutral as jurors. But privately, the ineptitude of Trump’s legal team forced them to take matters into their own hands, Bade and Demirjian report."
The report adds that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also convinced two of his colleagues to not flip and vote for impeachment, telling them, "This is not about this president. It’s not about anything he’s been accused of doing. It has always been about November 3, 2020. It’s about flipping the Senate.”
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