Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday tried a new approach in his defense of former President Donald Trump amid the impeachment trial for allegedly instigating the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Graham claimed the trial was all but over and that Trump had already won, attempted to dismiss some of the most powerful evidence and even tried to shift some of the blame onto House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
On Wednesday, Graham said he was so confident of victory, he’d already delivered the news to Trump.
“I reinforced to the president, the case is over,” Graham said, according to The Hill. “It’s just a matter of getting the final verdict now.”
Then, Graham dismissed the day’s powerful testimony, which left lawmakers on both sides visibly shaken:
Trump summoned the rioters to Washington on Jan. 6, spent weeks publicizing the event that would turn into the insurrection and vowed it would be “wild.” Then, during his speech at the rally, Trump urged the crowd to march to the Capitol, falsely promising that he’d go with them (instead he returned to the White House).
The mob broke into the Capitol in an attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying the 2020 election, causing them to flee the chambers in the middle of the proceedings. Some rioters also broke into Pelosi’s office, terrorized her staff, stole materials and called her name in the hallways as they attempted to track her down.
But Graham suggested, as he did last month, that Pelosi bore some blame for the attack:
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said on MSNBC that it’s hard to take Graham seriously anymore.
“It’s sad,” Jeffries said. “Because during the days in which he traveled alongside John McCain he projected that he was a much different figure than the individual who he’s turned out to be.”
Graham’s critics were even more blunt as his name began trending on Twitter:
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