COLUMBIA, S.C. — Senator Lindsey Graham said he was just doing his job when he made phone calls questioning Georgia's election results during the 2020 Presidential election. The senator said he was on a fact-finding mission as the then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"This is troubling for the country. We can't criminalize senators doing their job when they have a constitutional requirement to fulfill," Graham said said in response to the newly released Georgia Grand Jury report on Friday. "It would be irresponsible for me, in my opinion, as chairman of the committee, not to try to find out what happened. It would be irresponsible for me to tell the voters of South Carolina what I did without actually trying to find out what the right answer was.”
According to the report, 13 jurors voted yes to filing charges against the senator. Despite that majority vote, the prosecutor decided not to indict the South Carolina senator, along with two others, including Michael Flynn.
"You know, he has done nothing wrong as far as the criminal law in the state of Georgia is concerned,” University of South Carolina Chair of Political Science Kirk Randazzo said.
Local attorney Joe Leventis said the grand jury serves as a checks and balances system. Because of this idea, the prosecution was able to decide against charging Graham and any other person regardless of the vote.
"The grand jury is not privy to everything in the investigation so if there is something that they're not necessarily privy to that the government is, then the government can ultimately decide to not sign off on the indictment,” Leventis said.
Randazzo said that as a United States senator from South Carolina, Graham entered a grey area in making those phone calls to Georgia.
"Senator Graham is not the senator from the state of Georgia. It is irregular for the senator of a different state to call up and talk about the results of another state's election," Randazzo said. "Where Senator Graham has basically put his defense or his justification is he was also the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Senator Graham said he believes politics played a role in the investigation.
"I voted to certify the election. To suggest I’m part of some grand scheme to overturn the election makes no sense, given my actions," Graham said. "It speaks to where we’re at more than anything else. It’s me today. It could be someone else tomorrow. We're opening up Pandora's box. I think the system in this country is getting off the rails and we have to be careful not to use the legal system as a political tool.”
While Graham is in the clear from this case, he said he doesn’t regret his actions.
"I wouldn't change anything I did because I wouldn't. The people in this state, really the country at large, to figure out the accusations are being made, they're flying, just to sit by and do nothing, which a lot of people on the left would like us to do - just shut up and be quiet and not ask questions. I think I made a responsible decision."
Following the 2020 election, Georgia’s Secretary of State said Senator Graham asked if he had the power to throw out questionable mail-in ballots. But the Senator said he never pressured Georgia leaders to change the outcome of the election.