Lindsey Graham stirred up a blast from the past on Saturday in a Twitter message intended to defend Donald Trump, saying he hopes a president can’t be impeached “based on hearsay testimony.”
Within minutes, the long memory of Twitter users had the name “Linda Tripp” blowing up on social media as people recalled the former White House aide’s pivotal role in President Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment.
“In America, you can’t even get a parking ticket based on hearsay testimony,” said the South Carolina senator, a confidant and regular golf paner of Trump. “But can you impeach a president? I ceainly hope not.” He didn’t mention Tripp by name in his tweet.
The tweet followed an incident Friday in which Graham was overheard talking about Trump on a commercial flight.
The senator was on a JetBlue flight from Washington, DC, to Charleston and was chatting loudly with “Jared” — presumably White House adviser Jared Kushner — before takeoff.
It was a “full-blown, loud conversation” according to an “airborne spy” who talked to the New York Post.
“His phone rang and he answered, ‘Hey, Jared!’ He was . . . saying he’s going to be on ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday. He said, ‘Listen — this is what I’m going to lay out,’ ” we’re told.
Graham was overheard uttering, “This is Kavanaugh on steroids! This is hearsay — and this person has bias.”
“He was like, ‘We need to know why Hunter [Biden] was receiving $50K’ ” for being on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma,” the source told the Post. “He then said, ‘You can’t impeach someone on hearsay.’ He was laying out his story for Sunday.”
“It clearly was not classified info. He was literally yelling this s - - t. He also said, ‘Don’t release anything until Sunday.’ He was the first off the plane and didn’t appear to have any bags.”
But Saturday in the Graham orbit became all about Linda Tripp.
Tripp became friendly with Monica Lewinsky when the pair worked together at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration. After Lewinsky revealed to Tripp that she’d had a physical relationship with the president, Tripp staed to egg on the younger woman to provide more detail, and secretly recorded their phone calls.
The tapes eventually caught Clinton in a lie after he had denied having a relationship with Lewinsky, creating a scandal that led to his impeachment.
Graham, 64, was a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment. Twitter critics pounced on him for equating Tripp’s example with the current case, which centers on an allegation that Trump improperly solicited the help of a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.
A U.S. intelligence official, whose identity isn’t publicly disclosed, filed a whistle-blower complaint alleging that Trump, during a July 25 telephone call with Ukraine’s president, used “the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”
In the call, Trump asked Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy to “look into” unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing by former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic Pay’s nomination to challenge Trump next year.
One person engaging with Graham was Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat with a lively Twitter feed, who said that admitting to soliciting a foreign power “would absolutely be admissible.”
Trump and Graham teed it up again on Saturday at the president’s Virginia club, along with Hall of Fame golfers Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam.