The Senate will investigate the whistleblower who set off the impeachment of President Trump, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Sunday.
“I want to understand how all this crap started,” the South Carolina Republican said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Mr. Graham said that the chairman of the Senate Select Committee, North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, told colleagues that he wants to question the whistleblower.
He said that investigations into the whistleblower and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, two issues at the heart of the impeachment charges against Mr. Trump, with continue to be investigated by the Senate after the president’s impeachment acquittal that is expected this week on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The impeachment stemmed from the whistleblower allegation that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine, including withholding nearly $400 million in military aid, to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Mr. Trump’s defenders targeted the whistleblower since the anonymous allegations of forced politically-motivated investigations in Ukraine launched the impeachment proceedings, which were spearheaded by longtime Trump nemesis Rep. Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
“If the whistleblower is a former employee of [or] associate of Joe Biden, I think that would be important. If the whistleblower was working with people on Schiff’s staff that wanted to take Trump down a year-and-a-half ago, I think that would be important,” said Mr. Graham.
In the Senate trial, Mr. Trump’s attorneys repeatedly argued there was a connection between the whistleblower and Mr. Schiff’s staff on the Intelligence Committee.
After Mr. Schiff denied communications with the whistleblower, it was revealed in October that his staff met with the whistleblower and provided guidance before the complaint was submitted to the Intelligence Community inspector general. The revelation sparked accusations that Mr. Schiff orchestrated the complaint.
During the impeachment inquiry in the House, Mr. Schiff strenuously safeguarded the whistleblower’s identity and details about how the complaint originated. He insisted that he did not know the whistleblower’s identity and his staff did not influence the complaint.
Mr. Graham said his committee will continue probing issues with potential FISA abuse.
“Let me tell Republicans out there. You should expect us to do this. If we don’t do it, we’re letting you down,” Mr. Graham said.
Senators will take the final vote Wednesday, the day after Mr. Trump delivers his State of the Union address, and acquittal is all but guaranteed.