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Lindsey Graham rallies Republicans for Brett Kavanaugh, vote set for Friday

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: US Senator Lindsey Graham adresses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as he testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
Saul
Loeb-Pool/Getty Images


  • South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham launched a fiery
    tirade at Senate Democrats during the testimony of Judge Brett
    Kavanaugh, becoming the first Republican to not use the outside
    counsel brought in to question both the Supreme Court
    nominee and the woman accusing him of sexual assault.
  • Graham’s lecture to Democrats invigorated Republicans,
    prompting them to take a stronger stance backing the embattled
    Kavanaugh.
  • The committee is moving ahead with the confirmation
    process.

WASHINGTON — “My bullshit meter got pegged,” Sen. Lindsey
Graham told Business Insider shortly after the hearing to address
the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee
Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday.

When Graham became the first Republican to actually ask a
question in the marathon hearing in lieu of yielding his time to
the outside counsel, he took it to 100.

Graham’s high-tempered excoriation of Democrats for what he said
was a politically motivated smear campaign against an otherwise
qualified jurist did more than make a few headlines; it
galvanized Republicans and fired up a sulking and nervous set of
lawmakers.

Once Graham chose to ditch Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona
prosecutor who enabled Republicans to avoid any gaffes or
unfavorable headlines from the hearing, every other GOP senator
on the committee followed. Their themes echoed Kavanaugh’s own
defense that this is a disgrace, revenge, and purely about
politics. One after the other, Republicans beat their chests and
tore into Democrats for what Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called
one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the
United States Senate.”

“I didn’t know what I was going to do but I had it up to
here with talking about his yearbook and trying to imply that
‘Why won’t you ask for an FBI investigation?’ like he’s the
problem,” Graham said. “[Kavanaugh]

 has stepped
up, he never shied away. Those folks on the other side created
this problem. That’s when the dam broke for me.”

For Republican senators not on the committee, they returned
to Capitol Hill late Thursday evening full of caffeine for a
closed-door conference meeting echoing and praising Graham’s
tirade.

Graham received a thunderous applause in the conference.
Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson likened him to TV’s Matlock. The
right wing, pro-Trump online community was rousing with praise
for Graham.

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said “of course” Graham’s
speech resonated with him because the Democrats

destroyed a man’s reputation.”

“I thought he made a good talk,” said Alabama Sen. Richard
Shelby. “Matter of fact, I thought Dr. Ford was credible, but I
thought Kavanaugh was strong. Very credible, very strong.”

“It’s shameful what has gone on in this country in the last
two weeks,” Montana Sen. Steve Daines told Business
Insider. 

“This has brought the United States
Senate to an all-time low.”

Trumpworld loved the increased energy and rage

The fire Graham lighted under their feet changed the mood.
Allies of President Donald Trump
had soured
on Mitchell doing all the questioning for
Republicans. Back at the White House, the feeling was similar.
Mitchell’s methodical and calculated
approach

 does not exactly illicit high
ratings.

But Kavanaugh’s furious defense of himself and his family
name, paired with Graham’s tirade, won Republicans’ hearts and
minds. 

Immediately after the hearing concluded, Trump mimicked
Kavanaugh’s testimony and called for a vote on his nomination.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican once on the fence about
confirming Kavanaugh, declared in a statement that he would vote
to confirm.

“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated
him,” Trump wrote
on Twitter
. “His testimony was powerful, honest, and
riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful
and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay,
obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”

And the night ended well for Graham in Trumpworld. He
ate
Chick-Fil-a
with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

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