When it comes to an impeachment trial in the Senate, Lindsey Graham wants to hear from direct sources.
The South Carolina senator wants to hear from the “whistleblower” whose complaint sparked the House impeachment effort against President Donald Trump.
He doesn’t want to depend on the “hearsay” that has been the hallmark of witness testimony so far in House Intelligence Committee hearings — both behind closed doors and in Wednesday’s hearings in public.
And he wants to hear directly from California Rep. Adam Schiff, Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday.
“One of the witnesses will be Adam Schiff because if he, in fact, did meet with the whistleblower, and coached the guy up, I think that’s relevant to the impeachment inquiry itself,” Graham said, according to Breitbart.
It’s unclear whether Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, could actually compel testimony from Schiff, a member of an equal House of Congress and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“As a matter of oversight, I’m not going to call a House member, but if you impeach the president of the United States, I want to find out if in fact Schiff and his staff met with the whistleblower,” Graham said, according to The Hill.
But it’s definitely clear that Graham — like millions of President Donald Trump’s supporters, is disgusted with how Schiff has handled the impeachment effort so far.
During testimony Wednesday by Bill Taylor, former American ambassador to Ukraine and currently the top U.S. diplomat in the country, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, Republicans like Rep. Jim Jordan hammered away at the idea that neither man was speaking from direct knowledge.
In his Hannity interview, Graham vowed that that won’t be acceptable if impeachment comes to the Senate.
Graham: "Hearsay Cannot be the Basis of an Impeachment Trial Against the President" https://t.co/ozyeFtIGnR
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) November 14, 2019
On Wednesday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee voted to table a Republican effort to call the “whistleblower,” over the objections of Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas.
“Any resolution setting up a trial in the Senate — I’m going to make sure that hearsay cannot be the basis of an impeachment investigation,” Graham told Hannity, according to Breitbart.
“If you excluded hearsay, like every other court in the land, there’s nothing there,” he added. “If you invoked the hearsay rule, what would be left?”
On Wednesday, when Conaway initially sought to call the “whistleblower” to testify, Schiff denied knowing the identity of the person behind the complaint that could bring down a presidency.
Given Schiff’s record of shading the truth since this started, particularly as it regards the communications between his staff and the “whistleblower” — and given that the suspected identity of the “whistleblower” is common knowledge in Washington — that’s not easy to believe.
But it’s another good reason for Graham’s Senate Judiciary Committee to hear from him directly.