Graham says he won’t read the Trump impeachment transcripts

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday that he wouldn’t read newly disclosed transcripts pertaining to a pair of witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump, arguing that the process unfolding is “B.S.”

“I’ve written the whole process off. … I think this is a bunch of B.S.,” Graham told CBS News when asked whether he would read transcripts of testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine. 

The comments from Graham came just hours after the House released revised testimony Sondland offered in which he acknowledged that Trump’s dealings with Ukraine amounted to a quid pro quo. 

{mosads}According to the transcripts, Sondland said he remembered a September meeting with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he conditioned the military aid on a public statement from the Ukrainian government regarding the investigations. 

The statements revised Oct. 17 testimony Sondland gave in which he said that he had no knowledge of Trump tying military aid to Ukraine opening investigations. 

“After a large meeting, I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Sondland said.

Graham, an a staunch Trump supporter, dismissed the seriousness of Sondland’s allegations, saying that he “doesn’t care what any bureaucrat says” in this situation. 

“That’s his opinion,” Graham added to CBS News. “All I can say is that the president of Ukraine didn’t believe that. The president of the United States on the phone call didn’t say that. … If the person being threatened with withholding the aid, if they say, ‘I wasn’t threatened,’ I don’t care what any bureaucrat says.” 

Speaking with reporters later that afternoon, Graham said he wasn’t sure if a quid pro quo qualified as an impeachable offense.

“We put conditions on aid all the time,” he said. “But if you said I’m not going to give you money unless you investigate my political opponent to help me politically, that would be completely out of bounds.”

Graham has repeatedly denounced how House Democrats have handled the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. 

“If you’re looking for a circumstance where the President of the United States was threatening the Ukraine with cutting off aid unless they investigated his political opponent, you’d be very disappointed. That does not exist,” he said in September.

But he has also expressed an openness to the investigation, saying last month that he would be open-minded to impeachment if the House could “show me something that is a crime.”

“If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing,” he said on “Axios on HBO.”

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Kurt Volker Lindsey Graham

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