Senator Lindsey Graham (R SC) Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke with Brian Kilmeade about supporting House Republicans storming a closed-door session connected to the impeachment investigation of President Trump, drafting a resolution, co-sponsored by Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, telling the House Democrats what they are doing to President Trump "Is basically unfair, out of line with the process used in past impeachment proceedings and illegitimate." Graham went on to say Democrats must do for President Trump what Republicans did for President Clinton "Allow him to defend himself, call witnesses, confront his accusers." On the ceasefire in Syria, Graham believes President Trump has done well overall but cannot allow Russia, Assad and Turkey to control the buffer zone between Syria and Turkey because it would be nightmare for the Kurds. Senator Graham also spoke about how he is part of a bi-partisan group of senators who wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to expedite a visa for the Kurds commander, General Mazloum Kobani.
When asked about Susan Rice calling him a "Piece of S..t" Graham responded "Susan Rice was a walking national security disaster for eight years. Everything she touched turned into crap....If she liked me, I must be doing something wrong. I have been called worse."
KILMEADE: Really? Impeachment. They pushed to open the closed door testimony and hear from the whistleblower. Well, that hit a new high yesterday as Republicans actually stormed into a hearing room, ordered pizza, and Chick-fil-A, making the most satisfying yet, filling protests that I can remember.
And originally, Senator Graham, you made a statement saying, Oh, Christ. That's a little over the top. But later you amended it. Thanks so much for joining us. You amended it when you found out they didn't actually break open the door, right?
SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R)-SOUTH CAROLINA: Yeah. I thought they actually, physically, you know, knocked down the door, and took over the place, which would be a bit over the top. But they made a point by saying, We can't get in.
GRAHAM: So here's the the point. Here's what people need to understand. Hang on a sec.
KILMEADE: All right. I'll wait here.
GRAHAM: Yeah. I'm trying to get into the capitol. Hey, guys, I'm doing a radio interview, okay.
KILMEADE: You go through a metal detector?
GRAHAM: No, no. I'm talking to the security guard, and they're walking the dog around the car here. So, here's the point. They took an impeachment inquiry vote and it failed miserably. Remember that?
GRAHAM: Now they're doing it a different way that doesn't give the president any due process. So my point is, that what's happening in the house, is that the Democrats are selectively leaking information coming from closed door hearings for Republicans in the press, and are shut out, to drive down his poll numbers, and to drive up impeachment numbers.
This is a dangerous tactic. It is fundamentally unfair. It is, I think, a star chamber inquiry. And they rejected an impeachment inquiry and they're doing it another way. Another way that will eventually destroy the presidency. So, I have a resolution condemning this tactic. This is a political tactic to deny President Trump the same rights that Bill Clinton had to defend himself.
KILMEADE: So, that's interesting because the Hill writes that, Lindsey Graham nixed this letter to Nancy Pelosi, warning GOP won't convict Trump. So you didn't nix the letter?
GRAHAM: No. What I've done is turned to a resolution condemning the process. Rather than talking about the letter, nobody is talking about the transcript anymore, you know. They've just blown that.
GRAHAM: Have you heard anybody say the transcript is an impeachable offense?
GRAHAM: What happened to Mueller by the way? $25 million, 60 FBI agents, and a partridge in a pear tree. And, you know, it's like it never existed. Oh, the transcript of the phone call. That's a quid pro quo. Well, no, it's not. Well, what about Bill Taylor? What about so and so.
Here's the problem with the Bill Taylor argument. They release a 15-page written statement and saying, Oh, don't you believe he should be impeached? I have no idea if he was cross-examined. I have no idea why he believes there's a quid pro quo. And the president of Ukraine does not, the alleged victim.
So, this whole thing, that's a charade, a sham, a kangaroo court. And my resolution is telling the House, in the minds of the Republican Senate, at least Republicans, that what you're doing is basically unfair, out of line with the process we've used in past impeachment proceedings. And it is illegitimate.
KILMEADE: So, Senator, a couple of things. Is Mitch McConnell part of leadership willing to get on that resolution with you?
KILMEADE: And that in turn will sit there and say you could do whatever you want in the House, but it stops here in the Senate. And I'll tell you before it even gets here.
GRAHAM: Well, Mitch McConnell is my co-sponsor. God bless Mitch McConnell.
If Democrats -- if we were doing this to a Democratic president, if we had a procedure. We failed to get an impeachment inquiry vote authorized by the House. We were one hundred votes short. But we come up with an intel committee process that's done behind closed doors where transcripts are hidden from the public and may be being destroyed. If they selectively leaked information. Cherry pick for what we wanted to see or hear -- the public to see or hear, they would be killing us right now.
If we offered a 15-page statement by Rudy Giuliani saying that Trump was innocent, they wouldn't accept that for 30 seconds. So here's what I'm telling my Republican colleagues. It's not just about Trump. Whether you like Trump or hate Trump, that's not the point. The point is, they're going around a process that stood the test of time, and embracing a process that has no fundamental due process at all.
You can't get a parking ticket based on an anonymous source. Who the hell is the whistleblower? What bias do they have? What was Bill Taylor asked under cross-examination? Was it even cross examined? So my point is, that Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are saying, For the good of the country, this is not the way to have an impeachment inquiry.
KILMEADE: So, I hear you. I know you've been talking to the president about a lot of things. Some you agree, some you don't. But the fact is, the reason, in my humble opinion, why you guys still a relationship, because you respect each other. It's not because you get in line with each other.
And for those people who say, ˜If you don't agree with the president, he wants nothing to do with you. Case in point is Lindsey Graham. My goodness. You go at it as hard with him as anybody, but you'll still go and say, I agree with you here.
GRAHAM: Well, let's look at this. I talked to him last night and we're going to South Carolina together. I want him to be successful. I've come to like him and he likes him, so we've got that in common.
KILMEADE: So, he likes him. That's great.
GRAHAM: Yeah. Well, I mean, the point is, the president is very gracious to me. I think he's done a good job overall. This whole Syrian thing, if he adjust, it may work out. If he doesn't, then it's going to be a real problem.
I like the fact, we're keeping people around the oil, because it would fall in Iranian hands. He did not give a green light to Turkey. ErdoÄŸan did this against presidential advice and counselling. It's been very disruptive.
Russia, Assad and Turkey cannot patrol this zone. That's a nightmare for the Kurds. I spoke to General Mazloum yesterday. He's coming to Washington. He has told me that he doesn't trust Russia and Turkey to take care of his people. Nor do I¦
KILMEADE: So, the Kurdish leader is coming to Washington on Wednesday.
GRAHAM: I've invited him and he's making an application. I hope the administration will let him come in. I've invited him come to Washington, so he can tell us face to face what's going on, on the ground.
General Mazloum complimented President Trump for getting a cease fire without the sanctions against Turkey. We would not have had a cease fire, but we cannot just disengage. If you allow Russia, Assad and Turkey to control this 20-mile area, you basically abandon the Kurds, and it's a form of ethnic cleansing.
KILMEADE: So, Admiral Stavridis, who I know you respect, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, said, The winners here are Turkey, Iran, ISIS and Russia. Is he wrong?
GRAHAM: Well, we don't know yet. I would tell him to withhold judgment. I would say that if Turkey deserves a safe zone, because the YPG Kurds, in the eyes of Turkey, are terrorist organizations, but they also help us fight ISIS. My goal is then to separate these two parties.
We need somebody in that safe zone other than Assad and Russia. Somebody the Kurds trust, Turkey respects, and that we believe will be fair. And if we don't keep these oil fields guarded, (INAUDIBLE) will be a big winner. And if we don't have some people working with the Syrian democratic forces, our folks on the ground, ISIS will come back.
So, I would tell Admiral Stavridis I share your concerns, but it's not over yet. Judge President Trump by how it ends. It could end okay, but we've got a long way to go.
KILMEADE: Susan Rice was on Pod Save America. Here's what she said about you. Cut 31.
(START RADIO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Yeah. (CROSSTALK) to understand. Benghazi to understand Trump.
UNKNOWN: Right. Lindsey Graham isn't just a piece (BEEP) now.
UNKNOWN: He's been in that piece (BEEP).
UNKNOWN: Lindsey Graham¦
SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I said it, damn it, finally. He's a piece of (BEEP).
UNKNOWN: He's lying, lying, lying, lying, and raising money off of the death of poor Americans.
UNKNOWN: So, anyway, that's my little speech.
(END RADIO CLIP)
KILMEADE: So this is about Libya and it's about you personally. And one of those guys is Tommy Vietor, former communications guy, which Obama. What's your retort?
GRAHAM: Well, just remember my critics. Judge me that my critics. Susan Rice was a walking national security disaster for eight years. Everything she touched turned into crap. When you think of ISIS, think of Susan Rice. It was her and Obama who rejected sound military advice, and withdrew from Iraq, that led to ISIS, and 400,000 or 500,000 people have been killed in Syria alone.
It was Susan Rice who brought you the Iran nuclear deal where they gave the Ayatolla $150 billion and we didn't even get a T-shirt. It was Susan Rice who supported the red line being drawn in Syria. How well did that work out? It was Susan Rice who advised Clinton to stay out of the Rwanda genocide. It was Susan Rice who took to the airways after the Benghazi attack and lied about the state of security. So she has blood on her hands.
If she like me, I must be doing something wrong. I've been called worse. But I'm glad she interjected herself into this debate. President Trump, do not be like Obama and Susan Rice. They were a disaster. Do not go down the road they charted for America.
KILMEADE: You were quoted for President Trump and I'll paraphrase. An hour ago, White House press secretary, she said, The president needs a communication person to handle impeachment legally and through communications. They need to get on the same page. And it's making, in my words, making it very hard on lawmakers to defend them when they don't know which direction the White House is going. What do you mean by that?
GRAHAM: I mean, this make it hard to figure out what's happening when it changes every day. So, Bill Clinton had a very talented team of people who dealt with impeachment. They were coordinated in their message. Bill Clinton continued to be president. He did not get sucked into the drama of the day. And that's missing, but it's about to change. Jay Sekulow is a great lawyer.
So, what we need to do is, have people who understand the law, and know how to communicate, delivering the message for the president. And it needs to be discipline. The president needs to continue to defend himself, but he also needs to govern the country.
Now, I don't think the president has done anything wrong. The phone call speaks for itself. It is not a quid pro quo. Mueller wound up being much ado about nothing. No collusion. They're just trying to destroy the man's life. They're denying him the ability to defend himself. What they're doing in the House is at its core un-American. But we need to get people involved around the president who can deliver that message, because this tactic by the Democrats to selectively leak information¦
GRAHAM: ¦is driving down the president's numbers when it comes to impeachment.
KILMEADE: Senator Trey Gowdy was lined up and teed up and now we had a problem, because of some congressional rules about transition. So, he would have been perfect. So, you're going to go with the president. Did they recommend somebody to do that?
GRAHAM: Well, we talked about, you know, Jay Sekulow. Yeah, he's got a really good legal team around him. We just need -- what's missing here, I think, is coordinated effort to fight back with a message that will penetrate.
I think most Republican senators really don't like what's going on in the House. If we did this to a Democrat, they would be burning the town down, and we've got to stand up for a process that's more fair to the president. We've got to reject this process in the House, the Star Chamber inquiry of Donald Trump.
Again, remember, they tried an impeachment inquiry vote and it failed. So what they're doing is, moving the case to the Intel Committee, doing it behind closed doors in a fashion that I think is fundamentally un-American. And I hope Republican senators will begin to speak out more and more about this process.
Do to President Trump what Republicans did to Bill Clinton. Allow him to defend himself. Call witnesses, confront his accusers.
KILMEADE: Senator, thanks so much. You seem to be at the forefront of everything as it breaks. You cannot walk down the hall without 20 cameras. Is that a pain in the neck, or you like it?
GRAHAM: No. It's slower.
KILMEADE: Just go that. A little slow. Senator, thanks so much, appreciate it.
GRAHAM: (CROSSTALK) It's still early in the morning. All right. Take care.
KILMEADE: Not for me. It's like noon for me. Senator Lindsey Graham. He's going to be meeting with the president later. Covered a lot.