Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham argued on Wednesday that the Trump administration is too incompetent to deliver a quid pro quo message to Ukraine.
Graham, a vocal defender of President Trump, told reporters on Tuesday that he had already “written the whole process off” when asked if he would read newly released transcripts of testimony given by former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
“This, to me, is a manufactured issue created by some unknown whistleblower who needs to be known, and the phone call is the basis for the impeachment allegation,” said Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I don’t think the president did anything wrong.”
Graham made the comments while dismissing revised testimony from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, in which he acknowledged that Trump’s dealings with Ukrainian officials amounted to a quid pro quo.
“I’m not going to read these transcripts,” Graham told reporters on Wednesday.
“The whole process is a joke,” he added. “The whole idea that there’s a quid pro quo based on somebody changing their testimony presuming there was. [Special Envoy Kurt] Volker said there was not. He’s the special envoy. You just pick things you like. Ya’ll hate this guy [Trump]. Ya’ll want to get him impeached. I’m not buying into Schiff running a legitimate operation over there.”
“This is a political vendetta,” he declared of the House impeachment inquiry.
“I made up my own mind. [Kurt] Volker, the special envoy, said there was no quid pro quo,” Graham added. “[U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon] Sondland has changed his testimony to say he presumed there was. What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine, it was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo,” Graham said.
“I find the whole process to be a sham and I’m not going to legitimize it,” he added.
"It was incoherent," Sen @LindseyGrahamSC
says of Trump's Ukraine policy.
"They seem to be *incapable* of forming a quid pro quo." pic.twitter.com/rdZxyIazNj
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) November 6, 2019
The ineptitude defense strategy https://t.co/V2X9phmXpA
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) November 6, 2019