On "The Story" with Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Wednesday night, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said "there is no evidence at all the president engaged in a quid pro quo," and dismissed the House impeachment inquiry, saying "the whole thing's a joke."
"The president of the Ukraine said, 'No. I was never threatened by President Trump,'" Graham explained. "'I never believed there was a quid pro quo where I had to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden to get $400 million in military aid.' The whole thing is a joke. The whole thing is being driven by partisans in the House. Adam Schiff is not looking for the truth, and the testimony is incoherent. It depends on who you talk to, but there is one common theme here. The president of the Ukraine and the president of the United States have both said 'there was no quid pro quo.'"
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Democrat leading the impeachment inquiry, has begun to release transcripts from closed-door private testimonies from select witnesses. The first public hearings in the impeachment investigation are scheduled for next week, but Rep. Schiff told reporters on Wednesday that he has already reached a conclusion.
"The president enlisted whole departments of government in the illicit aim of trying to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent as well as further conspiracy theory about the 2016 election that he believed would be beneficial to his re-election campaign," Schiff said.
"That statement is full of crap," Graham said. "So Bill Taylor, what does he base his belief that there's a quid pro quo on? What is the factual basis? A conversation with Sondland. Now, here's a question: Why did Sondland change his testimony? Was there a connection between Sondland and Democrat operatives on the Committee? Did he talk to Schiff? Did he talk to Schiff staffers? I've been a lawyer for a very long time. When somebody changes their testimony, they suddenly recall something they didn't know before. It makes me incredibly suspicious," Graham said.
Graham said the impeachment process cannot move forward until the whistleblower at the center of the complaint is known and questioned:
"Without the whistleblower complaint, we wouldn't be talking about the subject matter right now. Right? So what if the whistleblower was tied to a Democrat? What if the whistleblower was tied to Brennan and people in the intel community who have been out to destroy the Trump presidency even before he got elected? What if this person came from that world? What if they had a bias? The whistleblower statute is being abused here. It does not give person anonymity when it comes to making a claim of wrongdoing. It protects them from being fired. The Constitution trumps the statute. No American, including Donald Trump, should be accused of something based on an anonymous source. I want to know who the whistleblower is? What ties they had to the intelligence community if any? And were they working with a Democrat? Did they have an agenda like Brennan and Clapper?"
"The whistleblower needs to be named, and we need to be able to cross-examine that person for any bias," Graham said.
"As to what's going on in the House, I think it's a political sham. I think there is no evidence at all the president engaged in a quid pro quo, and I am close-minded to the idea of impeaching this president based on this phone call."