Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Trump in Lindsey Graham's Cross Hairs in Russia Probe


I have often been less than kind to Sen. Lindsey Graham who I often refer to as the "Palmetto Queen" given the wide suspicions that Graham is a closeted gay.  Despite such criticisms, unlike so many in the Republican Party, there are moments where Graham puts America ahead of the GOP and actually seems to care about the nation and its citizens.  We may get to see this loyalty to nation over loyalty to party as the Senate investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election - and possible Trump/Putin collusion - gets underway.  I continue to believe that Trump has dirty secrets that he doesn't want revealed.  The man has always seen himself above the law and, as a man suffering from malignant narcissism, thinks that anything that furthers his interests and/or inflated ego is perfectly acceptable.  Thus, it is no stretch to see him colluding with a hostile foreign power and a dictator he longs to emulate.  Highlights from Politico look at the likely coming clash between Der Trumpenf├╝hrer and Graham:
Lindsey Graham lacks the resources and access that the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have to investigate Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.  But his Senate Judiciary subcommittee has something the intelligence panels don’t: a Republican chairman viewed not as a Donald Trump ally but as a fierce critic, who has no qualms with bucking party leaders to unravel the mystery of Russia’s interference in the election.
Graham and his Democratic partner, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, will seize the spotlight Wednesday during a public hearing on Russia’s election interference, to be held by Graham’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, which has jurisdiction over the FBI.
Graham and Whitehouse plan to use their perch to help ensure the public gets a full accounting of Russia’s intrusion and any possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The bipartisan duo already has its first target: getting the FBI to clear up Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in the run-up to the 2016 election. They sent a letter last week to the Justice Department asking it to turn over information that would confirm or refute Trump’s accusation — including warrant applications and court orders. The House Intelligence Committee is seeking the same information and so far neither has been unable to shake it loose.
Graham suggested Tuesday there would be consequences if the FBI continues stonewalling Congress — and said he plans to make an announcement at the start of the hearing on Wednesday warning the bureau to comply.
“If they don't honor this request and give us an answer, then I would say that we need a joint select committee because the regular order is not working,” Graham told reporters. “They’re about to screw up big time if they keep running to the Intel Committee and not answer that letter.”
Whitehouse appears more optimistic that he and Graham will get answers. In an interview with POLITICO, he said the senators got some clarity on the FBI probe after meeting with Comey privately earlier this month . . . . “I think he implicitly confirmed that they are looking at this and he said he’d get us a clearer explanation by [the Wednesday hearing]. That was satisfactory to both of us.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated Tuesday he would not object if Graham’s panel decides to issue subpoenas to force the FBI to turn over the requested information.
In an interview, Whitehouse said there are key advantages to his joint investigation with Graham, more limited though it may be. For one, their subcommittee can operate in public, freed from the constraints of dealing with classified information. And the scope of their investigation is broader than it may appear at first blush, considering the FBI’s central role in federal probes looking into Russian connections.
“I do think it’s important that there be a public effort so that people can understand that Congress is in fact doing its job, and there is a forum where an investigation or information that can be discussed publicly has its day,” Whitehouse said. “We have oversight over the FBI and the FBI is all over this. So wherever they can go, we can go.”
The South Carolina senator has emerged as one of Trump’s top GOP critics on Capitol Hill, along with his close friend, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.). . . . Graham is not up for reelection again until 2020, so he has no need to fear a primary challenge any time soon.
“I know that these kinds of — if the word is right, scandal — these kinds of investigations always lead to more information,” McCain said. “I just think there are more questions out there that haven't been answered.

 As the investigation proceeds, one can expect crazy statements/behavior from Trump as he tries to change the subject and distract the media.  I hope Graham stays on target and takes down Trump - and many in the GOP potentially who have tried to protect his foul regime. 

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