Even Donald Trump’s most sycophantic supporters are beginning to slowly inch away from the president as his popularity plummets from its already historically low levels and threatens to engulf their own electoral prospects in a drain-circling whirlpool to oblivion.
The latest hint of this encouraging trend comes from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a man who went from calling Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic” bigot and “jackass” back in 2016 to becoming one of the president’s regular golf buddies and most strident defenders after he took office.
Senator Graham took a surprising turn away from Trump today as he responded to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Saturday Washington Post op-ed reaffirming the findings that convicted Trump associate Roger Stone of seven separate charges, felonies that resulted in a 40-month prison sentence.
After the president brazenly commuted Stone’s jail term on Friday, calls for a congressional investigation into the Department of Justice’s handling of the case inevitably grew even stronger than when Attorney General William Barr interfered in the sentencing recommendations, guidelines that the DOJ revised at the last minute in an attempt to lessen the penalties for the president’s literal partner in crime.
Graham’s astonishing tweets this morning signaled an unusual departure from his typical sniveling behavior when it comes to Trump. In a concession to the Senate’s Democratic opposition, he suddenly announced that he would grant their request to have Mueller testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee to defend the legitimacy of his investigation.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation.
That request will be granted.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 12, 2020
While many observers on Twitter characterized Graham’s sudden shift as an example of rats fleeing the sinking ship of Trump’s re-election bid, others questioned whether it was actually a stealth move to introduce the administration’s supposed evidence of prosecutorial and FBI misconduct in the investigation of the president’s 2016 campaign.
Whatever Graham’s long-game may be, the vehemence with which Mueller defended the results of his team’s inquiries in his op-ed suggests that he will have little patience for accusations that his behavior was anything less than fully-ethical and proper and for the gaslighting accusations that the Trump administration and its senatorial proxies will likely hurl his way.
At least, if Senator Graham is true to his word, we’ll have something to look forward to watching on TV in the weeks ahead as many of us continue to stay locked in place as COVID-19 rages out of control.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.