I thought this was an odd response from Lindsey Graham to the news that Trump was dropping the idea of prosecuting Hillary Clinton:
On Reports President-elect Trump Will Not Pursue Clinton Investigation:
“Well so much for ‘Locking Her Up’ I guess. The bottom line is that I think the Clinton Foundation, the whole mess, should be looked at with an independent view, not a political agenda. I never believed Obama’s Justice Department would seriously look at what she may have done. I can understand wanting to put the election behind us and heal the nation, but I do hope all the things President-elect Trump said about how crooked she was – well, we just don’t let it go without some serious effort to see if the law was truly violated. I think that would be a mistake.”
I find it odd for several reasons, including:
- Graham is not a guy who has been shy about holding Trump accountable, as demonstrated anew with his comments after the president-elect chatted with his would-be buddy Putin.
- Possibly the most egregious moment in the campaign was when Trump threatened — in a nationally televised, live debate — to turn the United States into a banana republic by locking up his political opposition.
- Graham is a big advocate for the rule of law, and an intelligent politician, and I can’t believe that he doesn’t see it would be impossible for Trump to pursue a prosecution against Hillary Clinton after having said what he said and have that be seen as anything other than abuse of power.
- He certainly understands that any prosecutorial moves on her would be a judgment call — it’s not like she clearly and with malice aforethought went out a committed a major crime, something that couldn’t be overlooked no matter the political and constitutional ramifications.
- Graham isn’t one of these guys with a 20-plus-year record of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. He got along pretty well with her when she served in the Senate, so it’s out of character for him to express reluctance to let go of this bone.
All of that adds up to it being weird for him to go “Are you sure you want to do that?” when Trump, of all people, is willing to let it go — possibly at the price of loss of favor among a lot of the folks who voted for him.
Oh, and as long as I’ve got you, I should share the other topic he addressed — Jeff Sessions. Here’s a quote, and it’s all on the video below, two-and-a-half minutes in:
On the Nomination of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General:
“I’ve known Jeff for twenty years. I think he’s a principled conservative. I’ll have some questions for him before the Judiciary Committee. These attacks on his personal character, about him being some kind of closet racist or what he may have said thirty or forty years ago is complete garbage. Jeff Sessions is one of the finest people I have ever known. I don’t think there is a hateful bone in his body. We have some policy differences so I’ll be glad to challenge Jeff where we disagree, but support him in terms of him being a good, decent man. And to my Democratic colleagues, you better watch what you do here.”
Yes, and it’s not as if she got some sweetheart pass from Comey! She’s been investigated, Senator. Move on
Will Graham give Sessions the same sort of tough questioning he gave Sam Alito?
GRAHAM: “Are you really a closet bigot?”
ALITO: “I’m not any kind of a bigot, I’m not.”
Just joking! Graham knew the answer:
GRAHAM: “No, sir, you’re not. And you know why I believe that? Not because you just said it — but that’s a good enough reason, because you seem to be a decent, honorable man.”
Sort of a Potter Stewart bigotry test…
I think Graham is just saying that Trump should not interfere in an investigation, either to push it or to squelch it. The whole problem with the Comey situation is that you have both sides doubting whether he’s truly acting independently. So, why does it make sense for any president, to come in and stop an investigation?
While the FBI investigation into the private email server seems to be basically done, I believe the Clinton Foundation investigation is still going on. I think Graham is simply suggesting that Trump should just let the investigation proceed without interference.
I’ll also say this: If the investigation of the Clinton Foundation does continue (and really, even if it doesn’t), Trump should bring in an independent auditor of some kind to analyze all the myriad potential conflicts of interest relating to all of Trump’s businesses, and to make a recommendation about how things should be structured, and Trump should agree in advance to follow the recommendation. Even though it may be true that as a legal matter, certain laws about conflicts of interest don’t apply to the President, it is just plain awful to have Trump using his position to ask for and possibly receive a bunch of favors for his businesses.