Lindsey Graham told Trump over the summer 'you f---ed your presidency up,' book claims. Trump hung up.

Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham
(Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump labored until the end to overturn President Biden's win, and that included making their case to two Republican senators, Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Mike Lee (Utah), in the days before Congress certified the results Jan. 6, according to Peril, the new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Graham and Lee listened carefully to the pitches from Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, respectively, and even followed up with their own research. And ultimately, the book details, they were not at all impressed.

Giuliani on Jan. 2 presented Graham with a computer whiz who said his statistical analysis showed Biden losing, Woodward and Costa report. Graham said he needed "some names" and "evidence," so Giuliani returned two days later with several memos and affidavits claiming fraud.

Graham sent Giuliani's memos to his chief Judiciary Committee counsel Lee Holmes, who "found the sloppiness, the overbearing tone of certainty, and the inconsistencies disqualifying" and "reported to Graham that the data in the memos were a concoction, with a bullying tone and eighth grade writing," the authors write. "Third grade," Graham reportedly shot back. "I can get an affidavit tomorrow saying the world is flat."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Two days later, on Jan. 6, pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol. After the riot, Graham told Trump from the Senate floor, "Count me out. Enough is enough. I've tried to be helpful." Graham "has since tacked back, visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago, speaking to him regularly," and saying the GOP needs him, The Washington Post reports. "Still, he has continued to deliver criticism directly to Trump, according to the book. In a phone call this summer, he bemoaned Trump's volatility and focus on voter fraud, telling the former president, 'You f---ed your presidency up.' Trump abruptly hung up on him." A Graham spokesman declined the Post's request for comment.

Lee, who CNN calls "one of the Senate's top Republican constitutional authorities," was equally unimpressed with Eastman's six-point plan for Vice President Mike Pence to hand Trump the election. "Lee's head was spinning," the authors write. "No such procedure existed in the Constitution, any law, or past practice. Eastman had apparently drawn it out of thin air." Eastman spoke at the Jan. 6 rally before the riot, and a week later, California's Chapman College announced his immediate retirement as law professor. You can read his Pence memo via CNN.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us