Sunday Four-Play: Lindsey Graham admits there’s no ‘smoking gun’ in GOP’s fake impeachment push

It’s keenly ironic that House Republicans acted on a raft of sketchy, Rudy Giuliani-exhumed allegations to launch a presidential impeachment inquiry in the very same week that he was ordered to pay $148 million for lying on Donald Trump’s behalf. But that’s the difference between our courts and our Congress. In court, you have to tell the truth.

Of course, every House Republican—to a person—is now doing what Rudy did years ago: Appeasing their ocher overlord by conjuring nonsense in a cynical bid to put the faux stink of corruption on President Joe Biden. We’ll have to wait to find out if those congressional fiends eventually get their comeuppance. In the meantime, we’ve got Sunday show clips! So let’s get on with it, shall we?


It’s been glaringly obvious for some time now why House Republicans are trying to impeach President Biden: It’s because Donald Trump wants them to. They’re wholly in thrall to a lifelong punchline who steals top secret government documents and sounds like Hitler slipped on the basement stairs and can’t get up. 

Fortunately, some still see the current Republican Party for what it truly is: a pathetic cult of personality.

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen appeared on “The Katie Phang Show” to discuss the GOP’s fake Biden impeachment, and he very quickly got to the crux of the matter.

.@RepCohen on Speaker Mike Johnson's baseless Biden impeachment inquiry: "He went down to see his daddy Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago and he told him: 'Go back to Washington and impeach Joe Biden.' [...] This is juvenile." #katiephangshow

— The Katie Phang Show (@katiephangshow) December 17, 2023

PHANG: “Let’s start first … with the absurd impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Republicans on three House committees have been investigating President Biden and his son for months now with zero evidence of wrongdoing being discovered. Can you share with our viewers why there was a unanimous vote by House Republicans? Did you hear anything from your Republican colleagues on why they would do, across straight party lines, a vote in favor of this baseless inquiry?”

COHEN: “Totally political. Unfortunately, we have a child speaker. He went down to see his daddy, Donald Trump, at Mar-a-Lago, and he told him, ‘Go back to Washington and impeach Joe Biden. That will make me feel good because I was impeached twice, and I want to say he was impeached, too.’ So this is juvenile. It’s unfortunately an inexperienced speaker who’s dealing with an irrational man, and the Republican Party basically is responding to that as well. The MAGA Republicans do what Trump tells them to. So they’re going to do that, and they’re doing that with Ukraine, too. To keep his deal going with Putin that was so successful, him getting elected president, that he’s … [he doesn't want] to give Ukraine any money because he wants Putin to win the war and he wants Putin to help him in 2024. Trump’s looking at 2024 and Putin’s looking at posterity, and working together.”

Wow, that sure makes Republicans sound cynical and soulless, doesn’t it? But when you’re right, you’re right. And Rep. Cohen is most definitely right.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: The fake Biden impeachment rolls along, and J.D. Vance forgets Mike Johnson exists


If anyone knows about selling his soul to appease Trump, it’s Sen. Lindsey Graham. So it’s particularly noteworthy that even he can’t figure out what House Republicans are impeaching Biden over.

Graham joined Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” and was asked to weigh in on the GOP’s disingenuous impeachment push. It looked like he would have preferred to discuss just about anything else.  

WELKER: Grassley said he does not see any evidence that the president is guilty of anything. Do you agree with him? LINDSEY GRAHAM: If there was a smoking gun I think we'd be talking about it.

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 17, 2023

WELKER: “Okay, let’s turn to the other big story on Capitol Hill, the impeachment, of course—the impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Your colleague Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said that he does not see any evidence, quote, that the president is guilty of anything. Do you agree with him? Is there any evidence so far?”

GRAHAM: “You know, I haven’t really been paying that much attention to it. They have to prove that President Biden somehow financially benefited from the business enterprises of Hunter Biden. We’ll see.”

WELKER: “Have they done it yet, in your mind?”

GRAHAM: “If there were a smoking gun, I think we’d be talking about it ...”

Look, it was obvious from the outset that Republicans would try to impeach Biden for something. But this is really a stretch—particularly since Trump continually took money from foreign interests while he was cosplaying as president, and did so out in the open.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: DeSantis-bot glitches out, and ex-Trump aide says the former guy is 'slowing down'


Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells the truth on exactly one topic: Donald Trump. And he didn’t start doing that until Trump decided he’d try to garrote American democracy. He was fine with Happy Meal Hitler trying to kill him and turning our country into a WWE cage match, but lying about the election and trying to overthrow the government were the final straws. Which is good, of course. He’s ahead of the curve as far as Republicans go. That said, as the following clip shows, Christie always knew about Trump’s strong affinity for indiscriminate murder enthusiast Vladimir Putin, and he still tried to get Trump reelected.

Go figure.

Christie joined Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” to warn America about Trump’s increasingly authoritarian rhetoric.

.@GovChristie hits Donald Trump for echoing Vladimir Putin’s criticism of American democracy in an interview with @jaketapper. “It's time to send Donald Trump back to Mar-a-Lago permanently.” #CNNSOTU

— State of the Union (@CNNSOTU) December 17, 2023

TAPPER: “Gov. Christie, you just heard Donald Trump approvingly quoting Vladimir Putin about American democracy, about the American legal system, attacking the criminal charges against him and the ‘rottenness’ of the American political system, quote, unquote. What’s your reaction?”

CHRISTIE: “My reaction is that he gets worse and worse by the day, Jake. And voters better start paying attention to exactly what he’s saying. He has always been approving of Putin right from the beginning of his presidency. That was something that he and I had regular arguments about going all the way back to 2017. And the fact is that—Vladimir Putin as an expert on democracy? This is a guy who doesn’t even know what democracy is and, quite frankly, has spent most of his life trying to undercut democracy all over the world, and Donald Trump is citing him as his expert witness that he’s being persecuted and is innocent. Look, this is a guy who just believes ‘woe is me, woe is me, I can’t believe that I got caught.’ But let’s remember something, and everyone needs to know this. It’s not going to be Vladimir Putin on the witness stand in Washington, D.C., this spring. It’s not going to be some left-wing prosecutor making the case. Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, has accepted immunity. I did this for seven years, Jake. The reason he’s accepted immunity is because he has admitted he had committed crimes himself, or he wouldn’t need immunity. And he’s going to testify that Donald Trump committed crimes on his watch—a founder of the Freedom Caucus, his former chief of staff who he called the next James Baker. Donald Trump realizes the walls are closing in. He’s becoming crazier. And now he’s citing Vladimir Putin as a character witness, a guy who’s a murderous thug all around the world. It’s time to send Donald Trump back to Mar-a-Lago permanently.”

Hey, thanks for piping up, Chris! Better late than never, right?

Then again, it’s kind of soothing to hear an ex-prosecutor describe exactly how much legal peril Trump is in these days. Hopefully, at least one of the four criminal cases against Trump sees the light of day before he has a chance to send his tank columns into Fulton County, Georgia.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Biden delivers results, Christie swats at Trump, and Musk tanks Twitter


Speaking of Putin, his American Super PAC—aka the GOP—is doing all it can these days to support his Ukrainian war effort. House Republicans are holding up aid to Ukraine so they can play political games with our southern border—a cynical tactic that could help them get elected, which in turn would help Putin, who would then further interfere in our elections on their behalf, and on and on into infinity. 

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen joined Jon Karl on ABC’s “This Week” to discuss this ongoing betrayal of our ally on Putin’s behalf. 

“This is a pivotal moment in American leadership and history,” Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen tells @JonKarl as negotiations continue over military assistance for Ukraine. “We need to make sure that we help our Ukrainian friends.”

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 17, 2023

KARL: “What do you think of this idea of having significant changes to the border tied to funding for Ukraine and Israel? Among the changes that Republicans have been demanding are changes to our asylum laws—making it harder for people to declare asylum, restricting that. And even, you know, Republicans want a return to Remain in Mexico, the policy of the Trump administration, which is ‘ask for asylum before you come to the United States and come after, or if, it’s been granted.’”

VAN HOLLEN: “Well, first of all, I think it’s essential that we provide military assistance to Ukraine. This is a pivotal moment in American leadership and history, and we need to make sure that we help our Ukrainian friends against Putin’s aggression—not just to protect their freedom, but because it would send a terrible signal around the world to our allies who would no longer trust us, and to our adversaries, who would be emboldened if we’re not doing that. In terms of border security, I have to look at the details, and the big question, Jon, is, who’s at the table on the Republican side? I don’t mean the individual, but are they really working with the president to try to get border security? Because the president has proposed historical increases in resources for border security.”

KARL: “And they’re asking for policy changes more than resources.”

VAN HOLLEN: “So we have to look at it, you know.”

Well, Republicans ask for a lot of things. Most of those requests are either disingenuous or downright bonkers. After all, Republicans’ proof that Biden favors open borders is that his administration keeps arresting record numbers of border crossers and sending them back. Try to make sense of that one. 

Meanwhile, comprehensive immigration reform would go a long way toward solving our problems at the border, but Republicans prefer they remain unsolved so Fox News can continue scaring its viewers with caravans of brown people. Because if conservatives can’t frighten people, all they’ve got left is a Hitler See ‘n Say as their putative presidential nominee and undisputed standard-bearer.

But wait! There’s more!

That’s all for now! Note: Sunday Four-Play will be on hiatus next week in honor of my annual holiday sugar coma. Hope to see you all again on the cusp of a new year.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.