The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Sen. Lindsey Graham’s defense that his election meddling for Trump was protected congressional speech and ordered him to testify in the Georgia criminal investigation of Trump.
Graham, an ally of Trump, argued that the subpoena seeking his testimony violated the speech and debate clause of the U.S. Constitution, which protects members of Congress from legal risk from their comments related to legislative business.
But the 11th Circuit dismissed that argument, saying that “Graham has failed to demonstrate that this approach will violate his rights under the Speech and Debate Clause.”
“Even assuming that the Clause protects informal legislative investigations, the district court’s approach ensures that Senator Graham will not be questioned about such investigations,” the appeals court said.
“As the court determined, there is significant dispute about whether his phone calls with Georgia election officials were legislative investigations at all,” the appeals court ruling said.
Considering that Sen. Graham is a senator in the minority power with no power to direct or lead a committee that would investigate the 2020 election, his claim of legislatively protected speech was always flimsy at best.
Graham didn’t contact Georgia officials about an ongoing investigation. He called Georgia election officials to pressure them to overturn the state’s presidential election result for Donald Trump. Graham called the Georgia Secretary of State to ask him if he has the power to toss out ballots based on the state’s signature matching requirement. Sen. Graham was suggesting that legally cast ballots be tossed.
Instead of trying to dodge testifying, Lindsey Graham should be thanking the stars above that he has not yet been charged with a crime because it sure sounds like he violated Georgia election law.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association