Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he was "surprised" to learn a Georgia special grand jury recommended his prosecution in the case involving alleged attempts to overturn the state's 2020 election results.
Former President Donald Trump and 18 other defendants were indicted Aug. 14 by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
A report on Friday revealed that the special grand jury in the case recommended indicting 39 people, including Graham, former Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia, and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Graham commented despite saying he had not read the report that recommended 39 people be indicted. According to the report, 13 jurors recommended his prosecution while seven did not. One grand jury member abstained.
"I was totally surprised," Graham told reporters in South Carolina on Friday, The Hill reported. "I never suggested anybody set aside the election. I never said 'go find votes.' I never said anything other than trying to find how the mail-in balloting system worked."
The senator testified before the grand jury but only after he was ordered by courts to do so in a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Graham defended his actions surrounding the 2020 election, which included his phone conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, issuing the following statement later Friday:
“As the then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I had to decide whether to hold a hearing regarding the allegations of election misconduct in Georgia and other locations, as well as whether to certify the election results.
“I had questions, as did many others, about how the mail ballot process worked in Georgia and other locations. I did my due diligence. At the end of the day, I voted to certify the election results from every state including Georgia.
“It should never be a crime for a federal elected official, particularly the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who will have to vote to certify a presidential election, to question and ensure the integrity of that election.”
Raffensperger claimed Graham asked him about possibly throwing out votes that were legally cast — something the senator has ridiculed. He has said his focus was on mail-in ballots and how to match signatures.
"What I did was consistent with my job as being a U.S. senator, chair of the Judiciary Committee," Graham said, The Hill reported. "I think the system in this country is getting off the rails and we have to be careful not to use the legal system as a political tool."
Graham added that ultimately he made the "responsible decision" and voted to certify the 2020 election for President Joe Biden.
"The case will move forward without me," Graham said. "If it ever becomes impossible or politically dangerous or legally dangerous for a United States senator to call up people to find out how the election was wrong, God help us all. The next election, if I have questions, I'll do the same thing."
Charlie McCarthy ✉
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.