Senator Lindsey Graham angrily lashed out at Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee late Thursday afternoon, calling the Supreme Court confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh “the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”
Turning to committee Democrats, with his voice shaking, Graham said:
If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us! What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat, and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that. Not me! You’ve got nothing to apologize for. When you see [Justices] Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello to them, because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy! This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics, and if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you have done to this guy.
Graham’s comments were unusual, both because most Republican senators had not spoken—deferring their time to Rachel Mitchell, a sex-crimes prosecutor hired for the hearing—and because of his emotional tone. He echoed, though he did not match, the fury displayed by Kavanaugh himself in his opening statement. Graham’s remarks also followed sharp exchanges between Kavanaugh and the Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Dick Durbin.
While Republicans and Democrats on the committee are sharply divided on the nomination, they try to retain a sense of collegiality in hearings. With Graham’s statements, the tensions within the committee burst into view.
“God, I hate to say it because these have been my friends, but let me tell you, when it comes to this,” Graham said, “you’re looking for a fair process. You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend.”