Rebuking the Democrats' latest impeachment "sham," Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the pay-for-play accusations hurled at President Donald Trump have "a political smell" and might be "a political setup."
"This seems to me like a political setup," Graham told CBS's "Face the Nation." "It's all hearsay. You can't get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay.
"The whistleblower didn't hear the phone call."
Sen. Graham called for "a John Hancock moment for House Democrats" to "quit hiding behind" Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., and her call for an impeachment inquiry without a vote, a first in U.S. history.
"Salem witch trials have more due process than this," Graham told host Margaret Brennan.
"That to me is not a quid pro quo, and the entire whistle-blower complaint is based on hearsay and we're not going to impeach a president based on hearsay as long as I'm around. This is a sham. There's a political smell to this that's far different than Mueller."
Graham pointed to former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation failing to impeach President Trump as the nexus for this latest "sham."
"I think Mueller did a good job for the country and there was nothing there," Graham added. "I think this whole thing is a sham. I can't believe we're talking about impeaching the president based on an accusation based on hearsay. Who is this whistleblower? What bias do they have? Why did they pick this whistleblower to tell a hearsay story? The transcript does not match the complaint.
"What's going on here? Why did they change the rules about a whistleblower you can use hearsay when you could not just weeks before the complaint? So, I think this thing stinks."
Graham added this is political persecution of a president who's form and politics the Democrats disagree with.
"Republicans believe this president is being persecuted," Graham said. "They don't love Donald Trump and the way he does business. They like what he does, but they believe he's being persecuted. They believe that everybody's out to get him, and I believe as to this complaint it smells."
As for the protection of the whistleblower, the political nature of the claims make it appropriate for President Trump to respond to the political attacks of it.
"This is a sham as far as I'm concerned," Graham reiterated. "I want to know who told the whistleblower about the phone call. I want to know why they changed the rules about whistleblowers – the hearsay rule was changed just a short period of time before the complaint was filed.
"The complaint sounds like a legal document. Who helped him – who helped this guy write it or this girl write it? We're not going to try the president of the United States based on hearsay.
"Every American should be able to confront their accuser, including Donald Trump."
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