Graham huddles with House Republicans on impeachment strategy

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Graham: Senate trial 'must expose the whistleblower' Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.) huddled with members of the House Republican whip team on Wednesday to discuss impeachment strategy.  

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman told the House members he will use his investigative authority in the upper chamber to direct what several Republicans said will be a more transparent process than the probe that has taken place in the House, multiple GOP sources told The Hill. 

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Graham, who served as one of the House impeachment managers during the Clinton hearings, told GOP lawmakers that following the release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, he plans to "use its power to investigate the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] abuses that took place in the 2016 election meddling and surveillance of the Trump campaign." He also argued the process House Democrats’ have conducted is “unprecedented” and won’t be tolerated in the upper chamber, one source in the room said.

Graham "disagrees with the way Democrats have conducted the probe and is going to investigate when it gets there, and he will make sure that investigative process actually comes out with as much light and transparency as possible," one GOP lawmaker who attended the meeting told The Hill.  

"I think the whistleblower will be debunked. I think there's going to be discussions about greater corruption and the Ukrainian law that we all voted for — Dems did, Republicans did — a statute that said we should be going after Ukrainian corruption, you know, which is kind of what all of this is built up around," the lawmaker added. 

House Democrats launched the inquiry three weeks ago, following revelations from a whistleblower that Trump sought to persuade Ukraine to investigate Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE, a front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, and his son Hunter Biden.  

One Republican said that “it just gets deeper with Hunter Biden” upon exiting the meeting, signaling Senate Republicans are considering looking into Hunter Biden’s business dealings with a Ukrainian energy company.

Graham told reporters he encouraged members to “stick to your guns and insist on a fair process.”

Following Graham’s comments to members, Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinThe Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine House Republicans prepare for public impeachment proceedings with mock hearing Live updates on impeachment: Schiff fires warning at GOP over whistleblower MORE (R-N.Y.) — who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee — briefed members on what has been taking place during the closed-door hearings “and stressed that [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam] Schiff [D-Calif.] is abusing his power to make up rules as he goes along,” the source in the room said.