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Lindsey Graham at Sarasota Statesman of the Year dinner.

Federal

Lindsey Graham promises to investigate Hunter Biden, call whistleblower if impeachment proceeds

South Carolina Senator visited Sarasota to be honored by local GOP.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham promised a crowd in Florida that if impeachment reaches the Senate, Republicans will be aggressive.

That includes turning attention on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

“I think we should look at the State Department’s concern about Hunter Biden’s conflict of interest,” the South Carolina Republican told Florida Politics.

That includes investigating emails about Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and its affiliation with Hunter Biden.

“See where that goes,” Graham said.

Graham visited Sarasota to accept the Statesman of the Year award from the Republican Party of Sarasota. It’s an honor that has attracted several national figures to Sarasota, notably a not-yet-elected Donald Trump in 2012 and 2015.

Standing under a banner of Trump, and another of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Graham joked that he didn’t always have a good relationship with those men. He fought Trump’s nomination for President, and only truly patched things up after Trump won the White House.

Now, he said it’s up to the Republicans in Washington to save the nation from out-of-control impeachment proceedings.

The topic of impeachment filled the air at the Sarasota dinner. U.S. Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, urged Graham to subpoena witnesses House Democrats won’t hear during the ongoing inquiry.

“Subpoena Hunter Biden and have him come in,” Steube said to applause.

Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said the country remains behind Trump.

“Of course he’s not going to get impeached,” said Gruters, who co-chaired Trump’s Florida campaign in 2016. “He’s done an amazing job on our country’s behalf.”

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican, suggested Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi knew impeachment would be political suicide. But he said the progressive wing of her party had bulldozed the Democratic leader.

“How many think despite this nonsense, Trump had done a great job?” Buchanan asked to a standing ovation.

Finally, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who won election as Florida’s junior Senator last year, characterized impeachment as a sign of Washington’s mass dysfunction.

“President Trump won in an electoral college landslide, and all they can think about is impeaching the guy,” Scott said.

Both Graham and Scott said a transcript of a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the basis of accusations of a quid pro quo, contained no impeachment grounds.

“It’s OK to ask if they are investigating corruption if you give them a $400 million gift,” Graham said.

Moreover, Graham said not to mistake hatred of Trump — among Democrats or mainstream media — as simple distaste for the man. There, he pointed to the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“He was a Bush guy,” Graham said of Kavanaugh and insinuated sexual misconduct allegations were part of a strategy to smear the appointment.

Should impeachment articles be approved by the Democratic House, a prospect Graham figures at 50-50 odds, the trial will appear different. Graham promised to subpoena and identify the whistleblower who first raised accusations about the Ukraine call, and he said hearsay testimony would not be allowed.

“We will have a trial in the Senate consistent with being in America,” Graham said. “If that happens, I’m pretty sure how this ends. Real quickly.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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