Sen. Lindsey Graham Spent Another Morning Defending Kavanaugh

“You’re trying to portray him as a stumbling, bumbling, drunk gang rapist.”

Win McNamee/ZUMA Press

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Since allegations of sexual assault have surfaced against Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) has emerged as one of his most impassioned defenders. He continued this work today during an appearance on ABC’s This Week.

Just days ago, as the Senate Judiciary Committee last week held hearings to interview psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Graham repeatedly expressed his anger and displeasure with the process. He accused Democrats of falsifying allegations against Kavanaugh for partisan reasons, and threatened to do the same to Democratic Supreme Court nominees one day, announcing, “If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”

Graham told reporters after Ford’s testimony he didn’t think it was strong enough to impugn Kavanaugh’s reputation.  When a rape victim approached him, he brusquely dismissed her. Then, when it was his turn to speak during Kavanaugh’s appearance before the committee, Graham exploded with rage, yelling furiously that Ford’s accusations are an “unethical sham” and that Democrats are out to “destroy” Kavanaugh’s life.

On Sunday, a more in-control but no less impassioned Graham continued his crusade on This Week. He called for a “full scale” investigation into the “despicable process” that led to the hearings, and defended the limited scope of the FBI investigation ordered by Trump this week following pressure from swing Republican vote Sen. Jeff Flake.

ABC’s George Stephanapoulos asked Graham about the reports that the FBI will not question Kavanaugh’s Yale college classmates about why the nominee’s accounts of his youthful drinking—that he sometimes had too many beers but never blacked out or lost memory—differ so starkly from their memories of him as a very heavy drinker. Such questioning could be relevant to the allegations of another Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who claims Kavanaugh drunkly exposed himself to her during a Yale party.

Graham defended this approach by the FBI, saying, “You’re trying to portray him as a stumbling, bumbling, drunk gang rapist.” He cited the six FBI background checks Kavanaugh has undergone thus far in his career.

Graham also wondered whether someone on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s staff leaked Ford’s sexual assault allegations to the press, a charge both her office and the journalists who first reported on Ford’s letter have repeatedly denied.

In the end, Graham said he was confident Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the high court. 


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend