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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is coming under withering attack for recommending Donald Trump Jr. “plead the Fifth” when the younger Trump is called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) made waves recently when he authorized a subpoena to bring in Donald Trump’s eldest son for testimony before the committee.
Burr’s subpoena set off a lot anger among his fellow Republicans, and on Monday Graham suggested to reporters that when Trump Jr is sworn in, that he “just show up and plead the Fifth and it’s over with.”
Graham’s advice immediately set off a firestorm, particularly as it set off charges of hypocrisy against the senior senator from South Carolina.
“Whether he has that information or not, suggesting that Donald Trump Jr. is above the law strikes me as unfounded and contrary to the positions that he took on Richard Nixon and on Bill Clinton and others where he has argued that the law applies to everyone and that’s the ruling of the United States Supreme Court,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
Graham, however, became a national figure two decades ago, still as a member of the House, he was one of the managers of impeachment against Clinton on the principle that no one–not even the president–is above the law.
Even Chris Cillizza, the non-partisan political analyst for CNN, felt compelled to speak out on-air.
“Lindsey Graham has learned one thing from his newfound ally, Donald Trump. Situational ethics is perfectly fine in politics, because that’s what’s happening here,” Cillizza said. “What’s the difference between [Clinton impeachment] and today, other than 21 years? The difference is, Bill Clinton was president then, a Democrat, and Donald Trump is president now, a Republican who Lindsey Graham has allied himself with.
“There’s a number of issues where Lindsey Graham has just frankly changed positions. Most notably, his attitude about Donald Trump. He famously/infamously called Donald Trump a ‘kook,’ doesn’t know what he’s doing, [would] lead the country down the wrong road, this is when he was running for president in 2016, now suddenly he is one of the president’s staunchest allies,” Cillizza added. “So we shouldn’t be surprised by this, but it is an little bit on the appalling side.”
Online, the hashtag #LindseyGrahamResign reportedly began to trend upward on Twitter, after getting its start with the Democratic Coalition, an anti-Trump super PAC.
The super PAC wrote that Graham “has abdicated his responsibilities as a U.S. Senator and has clearly abandoned his oath to uphold the Constitution and defend the rule of law.”
Reportedly, the hashtag has been used at least 65,000 times.
Burr’s subpoena became all the more noticeable because Republicans have been trying to close the books on the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) calling the Mueller Report “case closed.”