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Lindsey Graham: Trump-Ukraine policy too ‘incoherent’ for quid pro quo

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  • GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday suggested that President Donald Trump’s policy toward Ukraine is so “incoherent” that he’s “incapable” of engaging in a quid pro quo in his dealings with the country. 
  • “What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent, it depends on who you talk to, they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo,” Graham told reporters on Wednesday.
  • Graham has shifted in his defense of the president several times as the impeachment inquiry has ramped up. 
  • In late September, Graham said evidence of a quid pro quo involving the president and Ukraine does “not exist.”
  • After evidence emerged that a quid pro quo did occur in Trump’s relations with Ukraine, Graham on Tuesday refused to look at it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham continues to find novel ways of defending President Donald Trump as the impeachment inquiry ramps up. 

Graham’s latest defense of Trump is that his policy toward Ukraine is so “incoherent” that he’s “incapable” of orchestrating a quid pro quo in his relations with the country. 

“What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent, it depends on who you talk to, they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo,” Graham told reporters on Wednesday.

The South Carolina senator on Tuesday said he refused to read transcripts from the testimony of current and former diplomats that were released by House investigators.

One of the diplomats — US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — in revised testimony corroborated the existence of an explicit quid pro quo involving frozen US military aid to Ukraine and Trump’s desire for certain investigations — including an inquiry on former Vice President Joe Biden.  

Graham on Tuesday dismissed Sondland’s reversal, telling a CBS News reporter: “I’ve written this whole process off … I think this is a bunch of BS.”

The senator had previously said there was no evidence of a quid pro quo involving the president. 

On Wednesday, Graham continued to criticize the impeachment inquiry process, currently led by House Democrats, as he offered his new defense of Trump. 

 

“I find the whole process to be a sham and I’m not going to legitimize it,” Graham said on Wednesday, going on to call the whole process a “crock.”

Graham added: “This whole theory of impeachment, the process is illegitimate, is outside the norm, this substance I find unpersuasive.”

The Republican senator, who’s currently the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also echoed controversial calls from Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and his colleague Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for the name of the whistleblower who filed the complaint that sparked the inquiry to be publicly released. 

“Yes, it should be made public,” Graham said, according to CNN. “The whistleblower’s claims cannot be used as a basis for criminal accusations, cannot be used (as) the basis for impeachment based on anonymity.”

Graham, who was one of Trump’s sharpest critics during the 2016 campaign season, has developed a reputation as one of the president’s closest allies in Congress. He rarely goes against Trump, though did briefly break from this trend last month to excoriate the president’s decision to abandon US-allied Kurdish forces in Syria. 

Lindsey Graham said a month ago there was no evidence of a quid pro quo. Now he’s refusing to look at the evidence that shows there was.

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