[LANGUAGE WARNING] The savaging of Lindsey Graham intensified on Sunday night as journalists seethed over his dramatic defense of Judge Brett Kavanaugh last week. Author and MSNBC personality John Heilemann on his Showtime series The Circus labeled the Republican senator a “fucking lunatic” for defending the Supreme Court nominee.
Heilemann, whose lost his longtime writing partner Mark Halperin due to accusations of sexual misconduct, dismissed moderate Republicans like Jeff Flake and Susan Collins: “All of them have talked a big anti-Trump game at various times. But in the end, normally when the chips are down, they end up voting with Donald Trump.”
He then used this as a way to lash out against Graham:
If I'm being cynical, I look at this and go maybe by turning it into a giant partisan food fight, and by Lindsey Graham acting like a fucking lunatic and all of that, maybe it's enough and they fold to Donald Trump again.
Liberals in the media howled with outrage for Graham’s defense of Kavanaugh. HBO host Bill Maher last week mocked the Republican, joking about his “dead boyfriend” John McCain. The New York Times chided Graham for his “tirade.”
At another point in Sunday’s episode of The Circus, Heilemann was very excited to talk to porn lawyer Michael Avenatti about new Kavanaugh accusations. The big “get” of the show included footage of Avenatti as he actually tweeted.
Riveting TV, huh, folks?
A partial transcript is below:
JOHN HEILEMANN: It's late afternoon, verging into early evening in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. We're on our way to the airport. We're on a little bit of an exploratory field trip to go down and meet Mr. Michael Avenatti. Michael Avenatti has spent the last few days inserting himself into the story about Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, suggesting that he has a client who has additional accusations to be brought to bear on the nominee. We're going to try to find out how credible they are and perhaps meet the woman behind them. Your client is ready to come forward?
HEILEMANN: So what happens now?
MICHAEL AVENATTI: We’re going to send this over to the committee and we’re going to ask that a full investigation take place.
HEILEMANN: You're going to send this letter to the committee and then post it publicly at the same time?
[Video of Avenatti posting tweet.]
CRAIG MELVIN: Breaking news right now, new allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Lawyer Michael Avenatti announced the identity of a third accuser.
MARK MCKINNON: This morning, everybody thought it was, like, over and then Kavanaugh came in and he was feisty and fired up and pretty emotional.
HELIEMANN: He threw away his prepared text from yesterday and adopted a different strategy. Indignant, furious, yelling.
ALEX WAGNER: Crying.
HEILEMANN: Kavanaugh's performance, for all of its kind of histrionics, was strong enough that it got it back to he said, she said and he said, she said might be enough to win.
WAGNER: But are Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski moved by that kind of behavior? Are they moved by Christine Blasey Ford that was composed, emotional, very differential?
HEILEMANN: All of them have talked a big anti-Trump game at various times. But in the end, normally when the chips are down, they end up voting with Donald Trump. If I'm being cynical, I look at this and go maybe by turning it into a giant partisan food fight and by Lindsey Graham acting like a fucking lunatic and all of that maybe it's enough and they fold to Donald Trump again.