Lindsey Graham Impeachment Press Conference Transcript: Graham Speaks to Reporters Before Impeachment Trial Friday - transcription powered by Happy Scribe

[00:00:00.04]
And as I said on the first day, I thought they did a good job taking evidentiary points and weaving a narrative and we'll see if that narrative withstands scrutiny. Yesterday was a bit different. I don't know about you, but it McCain mind numbing. After a while, I got the general point you're trying to make the fourth time you talk. So they're over trying their case. And I would just urge them to not do that because eventually it gets just hard to follow.

[00:00:31.09]
But yesterday was substantively important. And in my view, Manager Garcia seems to be a very talented woman. I thought her rendition of There is no there. There were Joe Biden was misleading. Let me just tell you, she mentioned the 17 witnesses and none of them thinks 100 died, did nothing wrong. I bet you not a man looked in from a foreign policy point of view. As much as I like Joe, but I do respect it and I do it mine.

[00:01:06.06]
I've traveled the world with him. I think his bad foreign policy, if you're gonna be in charge of dealing with corruption in Ukraine, that your son hook up with the most corrupt company in Ukraine and turn Ukraine into A.T.M. machine. You worry about the Russians compromising us because of Arizona. When you put your family member in that situation, it's not good, folks. That's not bad. That's not good. Foreign policy and vice president hit knowing nothing about it.

[00:01:37.04]
That questions whether or not how hard he was looking. Now, John Kerry's stepson was receiving money from companies in the Ukraine. I guarantee you, none of these 17 foreign policy experts. I bet you then it's been five minutes looking at this and they have on what to report, she told us in no uncertain terms. This has been debunked as baseless is phony. Well, I can tell you, you go read it for yourself, what the Trump family did in Russia and everything about Trump's campaign from the Mueller report.

[00:02:14.05]
What they're trying to do is convince the public and people like us just forget about this. I think this is a legitimate inquiry. I think it is bad foreign policy to allow what happened to happen. And they may be no criminal liability. It may be just conflicts of interest that are inappropriate. I don't know somebody. Look, I made sure that Mueller could look at the trumps. My Democratic friends seem to have no interest in looking at something that screams Tyrique.

[00:02:49.01]
Now, if you don't know, one of your family members is getting eighty seven thousand dollars a month from the most corrupt gas company in the Ukraine. And it's your job to deal with corruption in Ukraine. You're not looking very hard. Somebody needs to look not to help Trump, but to help us all. Because that is not good foreign policy. It is not good government. And I don't accept the idea. This has been looked at and there's no there there.

[00:03:21.06]
Somebody needs to look at it. And I would prefer it to be outside of politics, but somebody will eventually look at it as to the voices you heard. All of them are government service professionals. I respect their service to our country. All the people that were called as witnesses. But what they don't get is Trump see, all of us know. And when they tell us that we betrayed the Ukraine coast, we froze the aid for a certain amount of days, future aid.

[00:03:59.06]
And that Donald Trump basically betrayed the Ukraine and put all the Ukrainian soldiers at risk. I don't buy that because I've been there and I've seen the difference of the traffic administration versus the last administration. And they said this was valid for it is 10 percent of the Ukrainian budget, military budget. What they don't get that Donald Trump doesn't like the fact that the United States is not only increasing having to increase spending now, but we're we're taking 10 percent of the Ukrainian budget and giving it to the American taxpayer.

[00:04:37.03]
They don't get that. President Trump would like France and Germany and other people to do more.

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They have fought foreign policy differences with this president. They don't get where he's coming from. And I find myself on the other side siding with them a lot against the president. But I do respect the fact that he believes that somebody should not accept it's a status quo, that we're going to give the Ukrainian military 10 percent of their budget in perpetuity.

[00:05:07.00]
If you don't understand that, you don't understand Trump's motives. Now, as to betraying the Ukraine. I've got a different view of that. Hopefully other people will talk about it. So the bottom line here is that when it came to President Trump's insistence that somebody look at what happened with the Bidens in the Ukraine, I think he's right.

[00:05:30.05]
I think somebody should not a partisan politician, because if you spend any time looking at the public record, this is not right. And I say this about a good friend. If you change the name to pants are Trump a barosso r Graham, they'd be a completely different attitude by my friends on the other side. I can only imagine if a Republican vice president, given the charge to clean up the Ukraine, this that there would be investigation upon investigation and they would deserve the scrutiny.

[00:06:04.07]
So what's going to happen here is if we're going to sit among ourselves when this is over and ask the question and give our own view. Did President Trump corruptly? As for the Bidens to be looked at. I've got to look at him. Are you going to teach me? Cause somebody should not pay for it. Not to be me. I'd prefer it to be somebody like Mueller that we could all trust because it's important to never let this happen again.

[00:06:35.06]
This is not good foreign policy. This is not good government. So look forward to hearing what they have to say today. And I lived on this ship, has done a good job, I think I've said. But his closing summary was different. He told me that I have to get rid of this president now because I can't trust him to do what's best for the country, to only do what's best for Donald Trump. That decision needs to be made by the voters.

[00:07:08.09]
And here's how I'm going to make that decision. I trust Donald Trump to do what's best for the country. We'll have a chance to talk about what he's done for you and your family. And the politician says he can't serve anymore because he's been so self-centered. I find that to ring hollow. And as to Mr. Shift's discussion about why we need to remove the president, I think so. And there's some animosity. Toward this process that needs to be resolved at the ballot box.

[00:07:44.01]
Gordon. Before getting to the issue of the trial, which were engaged in the Senate right now, let me just as a doctor, take a couple of seconds to talk about the human virus and the concerns that have spread around the country as there have been two documented cases now in the United States. We've just had a bipartisan briefing from the National Institute of Health and from experts in this policy area.

[00:08:10.09]
What we know is that they've shut down the airport and restricted the area where the virus was first identified. And as a doctor, what you want to do is identify, diagnose, contain and prevent additional spread. You want to do that by limiting the number of people that are coming to the United States who may be at risk of bringing that disease. And in a number of airports, they're doing checks on that because one of the first symptoms is fever.

[00:08:36.03]
What we know of the people that are here already that have been diagnosed is that they have been to that region. And it sounds like the incubation time could be up to 14 days. So in terms of what we would do, since there are the symptoms of the flu and there's a lot of flu going around, this is a virus that is a respiratory transmitted virus, coughing, sneezing or ways that it's transmitted. Certainly you cover yourself if you're doing any of those things.

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Additionally, you know, wash your hands if you're sick, stay home.

[00:09:08.08]
If your kids are sick, don't send them to school, because we certainly don't want transmission from person to person to person. This is an evolving disease and virus similar to the SaaS virus that we've had previously. And I just ask people to take the appropriate precautions. Now, with regard to the impeachment and Adam shifts closing argument last night about President Trump not doing what's best for the American people, only doing what's best for him since he's come to office.

[00:09:37.03]
We have 7 million new jobs in America. Yesterday, the new numbers came out on consumer confidence, the highest they've been in this country in 20 years. The amount of wages have gone up. People better jobs, better opportunities. The country is much better. And I would say let the voters decide. What we've heard from Adam Schiff is he doesn't trust the voters who didn't trust him in 2016 and doesn't trust him in 2020, which is why he doesn't want to just eliminate and remove President Trump from office.

[00:10:07.02]
He also wants to remove him from the ballot in 2020. And you're going to ask four Democrat senators who are still running for president to vote on that. To me, that is a conflict of interest on their part with regard to the trial. And Lindsey talked about what we have heard so far. Lindsey was one of the managers back in the Clinton impeachment trial. They were given 24 hours. They used fewer hours than the Democrats have used up till today.

[00:10:38.04]
And now they're going to go with another full day of arguments about this. It seems to me their case is weaker today than it was yesterday. They're so little brought out and kind of every hour and a half bring out the same thing. They've rushed it through the house and now they say we want witnesses because we didn't have time in the house. We're going to, after the president's defense, get to present their case tomorrow. And then Monday and Tuesday, we're going have 16 hours for questioning and then we're going to have a vote in the Senate.

[00:11:09.07]
Do we need more information or have we heard enough so we can go to final judgment? We have heard plenty. The Senate, the managers for the Democrats have said there's overwhelming evidence. There's a mountain of evidence. They said it's rock solid evidence. They shouldn't need any more information to make a final decision. We're happy to take your questions, Senator, and you'll be. Sir, regarding foreign policy interests, you spoke earlier and foreign policy interests could be served by having the president go once again and announce an investigation into one of the president's political rivals without any conduct investigation.

[00:12:07.03]
So what's what's legitimate? Here's what I'm you, sir. Here's what I don't buy, that if you're running as a if you're former vice president and you were in charge of the Ukraine, nobody can ask you about what you did because you're running for president in 2020. What Trump is frustrated with, including me, is that nobody in your business has spent 15 minutes telling us about what Hunter Biden did in his good foreign policy. He's frustrated because he believes there's a double standard.

[00:12:39.03]
So so here's what I think is good foreign policy for him today, to keep insisting that we know what the vice president and his son did in the Ukraine. Did he do it? Did Hunter Biden do it in such a way so that he's compromised? So I just don't buy the idea that it's wrong for the president to insist that the Ukrainians cooperate with us on an investigation. I would say this three Democratic senators, Leahy, Menendez and Durbin wrote a letter to the Ukrainian prosecutor general saying that if you don't cooperate with the Mueller investigation, if you do not assist Mueller to find out what Trump may have done regarding the 2016 election, then we may work respectfully.

[00:13:24.05]
I just want to confirm what you're saying. You're saying that it is OK for the president to ask that president of a foreign country make an announcement about investing in an American way. I think against him because. Because he thinks the media is unfair. So I think the president believes that there's a double standard. I think the president believes that he went to Holy Hill and bought and I believe the same thing. Balance it out. Yeah. They know what he wants to do is get to the truth.

[00:13:54.02]
See? Can you imagine if a Republican had done this? You need to ask yourselves this question as an institution, as the media, as an institution, would you not have people on the ground wanting to know what Mike Pence, his son, did when he contacted the State Department the day they raided the breeziness president's home? The president is frustrated and I am frustrated that we live in a country where only one side gets looked at. And I am telling you now that I am going to look at this if nobody else does.

[00:14:28.03]
And that doesn't make me a Russian agent. Senator, you talked about the House managers over trying the case. How much or how little do you think the president's lawyers need to do to make sure he gets acquitted? About the fourth time you tell me the same thing is twice too much. So here's what the president's lawyers I think should be doing. If I were them, I would go to the argument very quickly. Did Donald Trump betray the United States interests Babbitt by withholding gate for a period of time?

[00:15:04.02]
Did he have a corrupt motive when he says somebody should look at the vines and what they did in the Ukraine today? He's not asking for the Ukrainians to investigate all of his political opponents. He's asking somebody to look at the former vice president who is chosen to run for president, who allowed his son to be a member of the most corrupt company in the Ukraine, received three million dollars and expect nobody to ask questions about that. That's what he's asking for.

[00:15:38.04]
I think that's bad foreign policy. I think if a Republican had done this, there would be no debate anywhere in the country that somebody should look at. How did this happen? And if you did know if you didn't know your son was doing this, how seriously were you looking at corruption inside the White House?

[00:15:58.04]
Attorneys should make the Bidens. I think they should be in Ukraine part of their defense of the president. Here's what I think. I think they should tear apart the narrative presented by the house managers. This has been debunked. I think they should make a compelling case based on the public record. There is something based on good government and good foreign policy to look at here and urge us when this is over to look at. Mr.

[00:16:24.06]
Mr. Mr. Yes. Yes. Just moments ago, Senator Gillibrand said you don't get to bury your head in the sand and they start calling you all hypocritical or complaining about the repetitive. You say name. Nature of the Democrats has lied so far, and yet at the same time voting against own witnesses and not respond very quickly like her a lot. I think they did a good job laying out their case. I just thought yesterday was like too much.

[00:16:56.01]
I've seen the same video seven times. Here's what I would say to her. You know what's numbing? The manager said there not one piece of evidence to suggest that Hunter Biden did anything wrong in this record and they never will be. If you don't call any witnesses, they tried to call Hunter Biden and people associated with Verismo in the house and they were shut out. I was pretty offended by the idea that there's a record here and there's not once until of evidence that Hunter Biden did wrong.

[00:17:26.08]
When you stop the house from calling Hunter Biden, so that's having your head in the sand. But here's the thing. I don't want to call Hunter, but I don't want to call Joe. But I want somebody to look at that when this is done. I think I've got enough from the public record to believe that their assertion there is no there there falls short. I think I know enough about the Ukraine to believe that we didn't betray the country.

[00:17:50.02]
I think I know enough about the president's world view. He's still pissed that we give them 10 percent of their military budget.

[00:17:57.09]
That said, only about the presidential race. This is about the United States Senate. If you take a listen to Chuck Schumer statements, putting the trial, putting it on the few members of the United States Senate. This is about Susan Collins. This is about Thom Tillis. This is about Martha McSally. This is about Cory Gardner. Chuck Schumer has said as much. This is only part of it is about removing President Trump and taking his name off the ballot.

[00:18:26.01]
It is also about Chuck Schumer trying to make himself a majority leader of the United States Senate. And there's no way to deny it because he himself has confirmed it.

[00:18:38.07]
I'm not trying to make is that there should be more witnesses and documents because new evidence has come out today. There was a recording allegedly showing that President Trump wasn't taking out the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine. So can you respond to the idea that in a trial there has to be evidence and trial and witnesses and documents as a come to look to have a fair trial? There will be new evidence every day. There will be something new that comes out every day.

[00:19:13.07]
And the House has said we're going to continue to investigate these things. House members have said we may bring additional articles of impeachment. There's nothing to stop the House from continuing along that line. But when the House managers say the evidence is overwhelming, it's a rock solid case and a mountain of evidence. When they say all those three things, I don't believe that there are any Democrats who need additional information to make a decision on how they're going to vote.

[00:19:42.02]
And I can't imagine there are many Republicans in the same situation as innocent.

[00:19:47.07]
So why not bring those documents? Number one, the president can fire any ambassador they want. I'll give you a lot of examples of where ambassadors have been removed because they lost the confidence of the president. But here's what I said about witnesses. I can answer the phone anymore about won't let you go. But they refused to call him in the house. Back to your question. I don't think it is wrong for us to look at the Biden connection to the Ukraine.

[00:20:22.05]
The three million dollars taken and given to the vice president's son by the most corrupt company in the Ukraine. So the bottom line here is if there are new witnesses to be called, you would have to start with the ones that will refuse to be called to start with. How do you try this case? Quite frankly, if you want more information and not have Hunter Biden come in and not ask Joe Biden. Mr. Vice President, how could you not know that your son was receiving 3 million dollars from the most corrupt gas company in the Ukraine?

[00:20:54.03]
And do you think that is good government and good, good foreign policy reason? I'd say no to them. Two people on my side because this needs to end. They've had a opportunity to make their case. And I'll be judged by my verdict by the people of South Carolina. I'll answer questions about the way I do that. I think I don't want to call John Bolton cos they could have chosen to call him and they refused to. I'm not going to destroy executive privilege.

[00:21:21.00]
I'm not gonna let the house put me in this box. I've ignored witnesses and asking me to call them and deny the president his day in court on executive privilege into my Republican friends. You may be upset about what happened in the Ukraine with the Bidens, but this is not the venue to litigate. Senator Barrasso, you're be seeing a couple of days. I'm going to do it every other Saturday. We're gonna be there. We're gonna be here tomorrow.

[00:21:52.08]
We just don't know where we're doing tomorrow. Full day. That's mine. That's the information I got. We'll find out more here.