POLITICS

Lindsey Graham Refuses To Back Down On Investigating Bidens

The Trump enthusiast said he's undeterred by former Vice President Joe Biden's criticism.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) defended his move to investigate Joe Biden and his son, days after the former vice president said he was disappointed and angered by his old friend.

“I love Joe Biden as a person but we are not going to give a pass to what is obviously a conflict of interest,” Graham tweeted Monday, claiming Hunter Biden’s past position on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm, “doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Though there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either of the Bidens, President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly leveled unsubstantiated claims of corruption against the family as the 2020 presidential campaign heats up. At the center of the allegations is Joe Biden’s push as vice president for the firing of Ukraine’s former prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, who led a corruption probe of Burisma. Shokin’s ouster was supported by the international community, and there is no evidence that Joe Biden was attempting to do his son a favor. Additionally, in September, it was reported that Shokin’s Burisma investigation had been dormant for more than a year ahead of Joe Biden’s push for his dismissal. 

In fact, Trump’s pressure campaign demanding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation of the Bidens is at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Graham last week requested State Department records related to Joe Biden’s efforts to oust the former Ukrainian prosecutor general, prompting Biden’s complaint in a CNN interview on Friday that Graham’s investigation was motivated by politics. He said Graham “is about to go down in a way I think he’s going to regret his whole life.”

“He knows my son. He knows there’s nothing to this,” Biden said. “Trump is now essentially holding power over him that even the Ukrainians wouldn’t yield to.” Referring to Graham, he added: “I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you.”

Graham’s apparently was unmoved. He told reporters in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday that the criticism is “not going to work” and that his “conscience is clear,” The Post and Courier reported.

This article has been updated with additional information on the timeline of Shokin’s Burisma probe.

CONVERSATIONS