Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace created a YouTube moment for himself by playing an old clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham demanding presidents comply with Congressional oversight when Bill Clinton was president (while giving Donald Trump a pass). But when Graham gave a nonsense explanation, Wallace moved along without challenge.
Here’s the relevant passage from the transcript (with light copy edits):
WALLACE: You call all of what's going on here in Washington a political circus, but you took a different view back when you were leaving the impeachment effort against Bill Clinton back in the late '90s. At that time --
WALLACE: -- you said that any president, and you talked specifically about Clinton and Richard Nixon, who defied Congress when it came to subpoenas was in danger of impeachment. Here you are back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: You're becoming the judge and jury. It is not your job to tell us what we need. It is our job to comply with the things we need to provide oversight over you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question, why is it an impeachable offense for Clinton or Nixon back then to ignore congressional subpoenas, but it's OK for President Trump to do now?
GRAHAM: Well, there's two things here. The Mueller investigation was a special counsel appointed to find out if the president committed a crime, if he colluded with the Russians, if he obstructed justice. The president gave him 1.4 million documents to Mueller, everybody around the president was allowed to testify. He never claimed executive privilege.
He complied, no cover-up, worked with Mueller. Mueller is the final word on this for me.
So, if Clinton had stiffed Ken Starr, that's different.
What Nadler is doing is trying to destroy the president and his family. If I were the president, I'd fight back against this political revenge coming out of the House. Mueller was the man of the law. Mueller was an independent voice that we all trusted to be fair.
I don't trust House Democrats to be fair. They're trying to redo the Mueller report. They're trying to make up other stuff. And at the end of the day, it will be political suicide for them to impeach. If I were the president I would fight Nadler tooth and nail. I'm glad he cooperated with Mueller. That's the difference.
Where to even start? First of all, the Mueller report did not exonerate Trump. In fact, Mueller signaled that Congress should decide whether or not Trump obstructed justice. Second there is plenty of other suspicious Trump behavior that warrants investigation. You know that Obama would have already been impeached had he engaged in a fraction of the behavior Trump we have seen from Trump.
Third, the Mueller investigation only looked into the narrow question of whether crimes were committed in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 election. Although the report found not enough evidence of criminality, there was plenty of material pointing to collusion that should be disturbing to any American. The fact that Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee blew it off as Trump exoneration was despicable. At the very least, it cried out for a follow up. Especially since just two weeks ago Graham used Fox News airwaves to instruct Donald Trump Jr. to ignore a Congressional subpoena .
But Wallace moved right along to the subject of North Korea without further discussion.
Why bring up Graham’s hypocrisy only to give him a pass on a BS response? I can’t read Wallace’s mind but let’s just say it was a good way to look like he’s not a Trump propagandist without doing anything substantive to disturb the cozy relationship with Dear Leader and his acolytes that represents most of the rest of his network.
That’s not to say that Wallace shouldn’t have bothered to ask Graham and it’s always good to create a viral moment that makes the case. But let’s not overlook the rest of what happened or, more to the point, what didn’t happen.
Watch it below, from the May 26, 2019 Fox News Sunday.
I agree with Ellen that he only asked the one timid question as a way to provide a little more tape backup for the fun that will happen as soon as the Pence White House is shown the door, hopefully in early 2021. Wallace is hoping he can show clips like this and pretend that he was a lone voice of reason and sobriety alongside maybe Shepard Smith when the Right Wing and Fox News are called to account for their cheerleading of viciousness for the past several years. But as Ellen makes clear, Wallace really doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on.
As for Lindsey Graham, he’s sadly thrown away what little credibility he had. The same man who properly noted the undesirability of both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump will end his career as a sycophant to both. A truly despicable way to close out his political career.
What else did you expect of Fox??
As embarrassing as Graham’s hypocrisy and lies of omission are on Mueller, watching Graham lick Trump’s boots on North Korea is some of the most twisted idiocy imaginable. Then there’s Graham overlooking the specific abhorrent war crimes his hero Trump is pardoning and I have to stop the video before I vomit.