Senator Lindsay Graham, once among Donald Trump's harshest critics, is set to lead the charge of defending him in the court of public opinion while the Democrats make the impeachment case.
A South Carolina Republican senator has dismissed allegations that Trump has betrayed US national security interests, pushing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to investigate political rival Joe Biden days after freezing some military aid for the country.
Graham and other allies of the president sought to fight, claiming that the whistle that raised the alarm was not a conversation between Trump and Zelensky, but based on his complaints about employees' memories of him.
"You can't even get a parking ticket in America based on foreign rumors," Graham tweeted on Saturday. "But can you appoint a president? I certainly hope not. "
The senator played golf with Trump, as did professionals Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam at the President's Club in Sterling, Virginia on Saturday morning, according to a White House pool report. It seems likely that Trump and Graham have plenty of time to consider how to restore the political narrative.
Graham changed his tune for impeachment. In 1998-99, as a member of the House of Representatives, he helped to run the impeachment of Democratic President Bill Clinton, insisting that the process be "for restoring the honor and integrity of the service."
But Graham was distinguished in the eyes of Trump a year ago by his fierce defense of Brett Cavanaugh, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was almost derailed by allegations of sexual assault.
On Friday, the senator sent an email to a fundraiser saying, "I can still remember the exact moment it started, a year ago today … I spoke heartily against the false and unproven allegations brought against Bret Cavanaugh for political purposes. "
Graham added:" My remarks about Democrats' contempt for Justice Cavanaugh struck a powerful chord with people who enthusiastically supported President Trump's election to our country's highest court. "
The email contained a photo of a smiling Graham protesting in the background and captioning: "Stand with me against angry leftist mafias!"
Graham, who chairs the Senate committee of the judiciary, will appear in the face of the CBS on the face of the nation on Sunday, along with Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a key figure in the impeachment investigation given his attempts to put pressure on Ukraine.
PageSix of the New York Post PageSix reports that Graham has overheard a flight coordinating points for talks with the White House.
"We are told that the South Carolina regiment was on a JetBlue flight from Washington to Charleston and had noisy conversations with Jared – presumably White House adviser Jared Kushner – before takeoff," he said.  "It was a" full conversation, a strong conversation "according to an aerial spy. "His phone rang and he said, 'Hey, Jared! "He … said he would be on the Face of the Nation on Sunday. He said, "Listen – this is what I'm going to expose," we are told. "
The report adds that Graham was overheard, saying, "This is Stew! This is heard – and this person is addicted. "
Graham and others may find Ukraine's case more difficult than Cavanaugh's or Mueller's report, which summarized the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian election interference, Trump-Moscow ties and possible obstruction of justice. the president.
David Brock, political activist and founder of progressive media watchdog, Materials for America, told The Guardian: "Their playback is very predictable. This is what we have seen before. Now we see him play. But I think this time they are dealing with a weaker hand, and at least for now they are struggling to find the counter-narrative they would like to tell.
“I don't think they still have it and so it feels like they throw a lot in the wall. to see what sticks, but
"And that is because they are overwhelmed by the reality of what this complaint says, and it is very difficult to escape from it. Definitely trying, but I wonder about the effectiveness of that. "
Trump continued to rebound on Saturday, labeling Democrats" savages. " He tweeted: "Can you imagine if these" Nothing undemocratic savages "… there was a Republican party that would do to Obama what Notting did to me. Oh well, maybe next time! "
Graham may find it difficult to target Biden, an old friend. And his harmless defense of Trump is a striking twist. In May 2016, former Republican primary candidate and close friend of the late Senator John McCain wrote on Twitter: "If we nominate Trump, we will be destroyed … and deserved."
House Democrats are determined to move fast. On Friday, they issued subpoenas requesting documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and scheduled legal deposits for other government employees.
On Saturday, Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, expressed concern over the Washington Post's report that the White House was restricting access to the 2017 Oval Cabinet transcript, in which Trump told two Russian officials that he did not is concerned about the interference in the 2016 elections because the US has done the same in other countries.
If true, Sumer said, the reports are "extremely damaging to both our national security and the integrity of our elections. This is one of the most disturbing things we have learned yet. "
He added:" The White House must immediately provide the Congressional Intelligence Committees with all the records of that meeting so that we can get to the bottom of it. " Trump tried to defend himself by sharing an old report in which his then-national security adviser, HR McMaster, described the conversation as" perfectly appropriate. "
The President wrote, "Thank you General McMaster. Just more fake news! ”