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June 17, 2020 – Republicans are treating the Senate as a de facto arm of the Trump campaign, and no two Senators have been more willing to abuse their authority to advance the President’s electoral prospects than Ron Johnson and Lindsey Graham. Both are helming “investigations” whose sole aim is to advance Trump’s conspiracy theories and impugn his opponent, Vice President Biden. 

As if their wanton abuse of power weren’t enough, their hypocrisy is off the charts — even for them. In launching their politically-motivated investigations, these Senators have touted the need for so-called “transparency” and the imperative of a full-fledged inquiry to uncover the “full truth” for the American people. Yet these same Senators very pointedly shunned these very principles just a few months ago when their close ally, President Trump, was on trial in the Senate. They did so despite overwhelming and uncontested evidence of Trump’s corruption and his betrayal of our national security. 

On Revealing the Truth: Senator Graham is spearheading the Senate Judiciary Committee’s inquiry into the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation and has touted the need to uncover wrongdoing. Senator Johnson has doubled down on so-called “transparency” in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s own inquiry into the Russia investigation as well as Vice President Biden and his son. 

  • But during the impeachment inquiry, Senator Graham made up his mind to cover for Trump, while Senator Johnson did not believe in public disclosure of wrongdoing. 

Senator Graham on Crossfire Hurricane

  • “It’s going to take a while but we will not be deterred in our effort to get to the bottom of what I think was a very major abuse of power.” [Remarks, 6/3/20]
  • “This Committee is not going to sit on the sidelines and simply move on. I can assure you we’re not going to be deterred. If we have to do it by ourselves, we will. […] The American people deserve answers to these questions and we intend to get them.” [Remarks, 6/11/20]

Senator Graham on the Impeachment Inquiry

  • “I’ve written the whole process off. […] I think this is a bunch of BS. […] I think this is a sham process. I think the substance is not worthy of an impeachment discussion. Read the phone call for yourself. I don’t care what anybody else says about the phone call.” [Remarks, 11/5/19]
  • “This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly. […] I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.” [Interview, 12/14/19]
  • “I want this trial to get over with as quick as possible. I want the people of the United States to pick the next president, not a court of impeachment.” [Interview, 1/19/20]
  • “What the House of Representatives is doing is a process of political revenge. It is alien to American due process. It should be dismissed quickly in the United States Senate.” [Interview, 10/22/19] 

Senator Johnson on Crossfire Hurricane 

  • “[T]ransparency is all about getting the truth out, so the American people understood what happened, so, hopefully, it’ll never happen again, this corruption in the transition process.” [Interview, 6/14/20]
  • “I am all for transparency. I think the American people need to — deserve and hear the full truth. And that’s what I’m going to try and get.” [Interview, 5/17/20]
  • “I want to know exactly what happened. [….] I want to get all that information. I want the American people to hear the full and complete truth.” [Interview, 5/17/20]

Senator Johnson on the Impeachment Inquiry

  • “I think the reason they describe this as sausage-making process is sometimes it’s not very pretty, but if whoever started this in motion, if their goal was to help Ukraine, solidify a relationship, they failed miserably. […] the fact of the matter is producing policy, creating policy, whether it’s legislative, or sometimes foreign policy, can be a pretty messy deal, but that process was already underway. I think it would have ended successfully. This didn’t have to come to such high exposure.” [Interview, 11/22/19]
  • “Impeachment has been a completely political exercise from the get go.” [Twitter, 12/19/19]

On an Informed Inquiry: Senator Graham secured authorization to subpoena over 50 former Obama administration officials, citing the need for evidence, yet committee Republicans rejected Democratic Senators’ motions to call a balanced slate of witnesses. Senator Johnson has received similar authorities for his Committee’s inquiry into the Bidens and the origins of the Russia investigation. 

  • During the Senate impeachment trial, on the other hand, Senators Graham and Johnson refused to support calling even a single witness.

Senator Graham on Crossfire Hurricane

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  • “I’m asking the Committee to give me the power to subpoena people and documents as I see fit to try to find out what happened with CrossfireHurricane, and the abuses of Carter Page and General Flynn.” [Interview, 6/4/20]
  • “You are trying to stop me from doing something I think the country needs to do, and I’m not going to be stopped.” [Remarks, 6/12/20] 

Senator Graham on the Impeachment Inquiry

  • “I think what’s best for the country is to … get this thing over with. I am clearly made up my mind. I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process. So I don’t need any witnesses.” [Interview, 12/15/19]
  • “Well, if we seek witnesses, then we are going to throw the country into chaos.” [Interview, 1/26/20]
  • “There’s not going to be a process where the Democrats get their witnesses and the president gets shut out. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be consistent. I’m going to vote against calling the four witnesses requested by Senator Schumer. They’re all covered by executive privilege. They’re part of the national security team of the president.” [Interview, 1/19/20]

Senator Johnson on Crossfire Hurricane

  • “Transparency is not political. I’m kind of amazed at the resistance I have had in my own committee to get the information . . . What are they afraid of?” [Interview, 6/14/20]
  • “[W]e’re going to first start out with a thorough review of the documents . . . We will have additional documents. And now we have a lot more information.” [Interview, 6/14/20] 
  • “There are times when extraordinary situations require action, whether or not we all agree. […] The subpoena authority I am requesting today will help us gather the necessary information.” [Remarks, 6/4/20]

Senator Johnson on the Impeachment Inquiry

  • “I think people are starting to realize that [calling witnesses] would be a pretty messy and unproductive process.” [Remarks, 12/11/19].
  • “This impeachment trial has got to end, the sooner the better. Witnesses are just going to prolong it without really giving us any more information than we really need.” [Remarks, 1/31/20]

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