An interview between Axios and Lindsey Graham is causing a stir, though there's some different interpretations over his comments on the topic of President Trump's impeachment. The upshot is that Graham says he still hasn't seen evidence of an impeachable offense, but he's open to changing his mind. Details and related coverage:
- The remarks: Jonathan Swan of Axios asked, "Are you open-minded if more comes out that you could support impeachment?" And Graham replied: "Sure, I mean show me something that is a crime. If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing."
- The qualification: Graham also reiterated that he's read the transcript of Trump's call with Ukraine's leader, and "that's not a quid pro quo to me." A spokesman for Graham later emphasized that the GOP senator has not seen anything that would cause him to vote to remove Trump from office.
- The coverage: Headlines such as "Lindsey Graham does not rule out the possibility of Trump impeachment if new evidence emerges" (CNN) and "Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's staunchest GOP allies, called the president a 'handful' and suggested he may support impeachment if new evidence comes out" (Business Insider) are making the rounds.
- The importance: If Graham flips, expect at least 19 other GOP senators to do the same, which would doom Trump's presidency, writes Mike Allen in a separate Axios post. But "it's hard to see Graham turning on Trump," adds Allen. "Then again, it was hard to see Graham sucking up to Trump after calling him a disaster."
- 20 percent? On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace said a "very well-connected Republican" told him there's a 20% chance enough Republican senators would vote to oust Trump if he is impeached by the House, reports the Hill. White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney called that "absurd."
- Romney, too: The Axios program also featured an interview with Mitt Romney, who said he wants "to get as much information as we can" on Trump's Ukraine interactions before making a decision on impeachment. When Allen told Romney that he could sway other senators to vote against the president, Romney replied, "Are you smoking something that I don't see?" per CNN. Allen writes that Romney could indeed sway senators in swing states.
- Trump will like: Graham has been one of Trump's toughest critics over the Syria decision, but on Fox News Sunday he said he is "increasingly optimistic" things can turn out well, notes Reuters.
(Romney admits having a fake Twitter account