Episode 11

Rodney Clough
6 min readApr 6, 2023

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Clouds of Doubt

Good evening and welcome to Episode 11, The Trials of Lindsey Graham, Water Carrier (*).

Tonight’s episode, “Clouds of Doubt,” finds our hero, the Senior Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, bereft as his friend and golfing buddy, the former President is facing criminal charges for election fraud and conspiracy. Though the word “scheme”, not fraud (1) was used in the wording of the unsealed indictments, there seemed an uncanny resemblance to the turmoil our hero is enduring in Georgia. (2)

For those viewers new to “The Trials,” our hero is facing the threat that Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis will move to make public findings of an eight-month investigation by the Special Grand Jury in referring criminal charges of interference in the 2020 Georgia Election for President, for which investigation our hero was subpoenaed to provide documents and testimony. Our hero has appeared publicly with the former President during his visit to South Carolina after announcing his candidacy and now our hero is consumed with shock and worry about the political fallout of the recent indictments for the 2024 Trump campaign.

This evening, we see Lindsey, ever the Trump stalwart, leave the Fox New Studio on Captiol Street where he pleaded before Fox viewers to take news of Trump’s indictments as a call to open their pocketbooks and their heart-felt prayers …’so I am asking you to help bring our country back… if you have five or ten dollars, go to lindseygraham.com and donate. If you don’t have one dollar, pray for our candidate.’

A warning to parents. The material you are about to hear might not be suitable for young ears. Thank you for your consideration.

Announcer: Our hero is sitting in his tinted-glass SUV, driving from the Fox News Studio to his apartment in Adams Morgan. Its nearly 10:00pm. A call comes over his Bluetooth.

DM (Don McGahn, Lindsey’s lawyer): Lindsey, it’s Don. Are you in transit? Pull over. I am on a secure line.

LG: Whaddya’ got for me?

DM: Gotta’ a call from Epshteyn. He wants to meet with you. Trump needs your help. He wants you on board with what’s happening with the campaign.

LG: What the hell’s going on?

DM: Ivanka is upset about the indictments.

LG: Didn’t she hear me, tonight on Fox? More hoity-toity Ivanka? Didn’t she hear me? Heh, this is a good time to campaign. Polls are trending. Most excitement since Trump announced his candidacy.

DM: That’s my point. She thinks this is not a good time for her to campaign. Ivanka needs a platform to speak on behalf of the family. Boris says Ivanka is complaining that no one is protecting the President and his family — You know, protecting from harassing our family, me, my brother, Baron… you know, coming after them personally.

LG: Hell, they have the Secret Service, last I looked. What does she want?

DM: I think she is speaking to psychological protection. You know paparazzi syndrome.

LG: (Pause, scoffing) What’s the hell does that have to do with me?

DM: Ivanka is upset that Trump’s followers will see her Dad being moved around, being led like a criminal from docket to docket. You know he doesn’t want situations…

LG (interrupting): What kind of situations?

DM: …Where he appears subservient, not in control of the situation.

LG: Well, yeah. He’s more comfortable in Palm Beach. So, he goes to Palm Beach, so…

DM (interrupting): Look, Lindsey, you’re all he has in the Senate.

LG: Oh, screw you McGahn. What are you saying, you want me to play ‘the pity the family’ card? What about me? And what… you think Willis is gonna’ disappear? The lady is breathing down my back. We need more muscle, Donnie. Not more family! (Pause) You know I won’t play in those waters.

DM: I am listening.

LG: Donnie, forget about Epshteyn and Ivanka. You need to get to Barr, tell him to change his tone. He’s depressing. No mention of weaponization! What’s wrong with him? Now he’s quiet. Now he’s dismissing the legal team. Screw his gravitas! How the hell are we going to prevail in Georgia! For Crissakes, Vance just shot off his mouth. Get to Barr.

DM: I can’t do that. I can’t ask Barr to step into the Georgia thing.

LG (continues, ignoring what McGahn just said): Get Barr to say that of course there was election tampering. Get Barr to say that now there is election interference… going on now. It’s a damn stain on the Presidency. The Democrats are using the same playbook… just three years later. Same old…same old.

DM: I can’t do that.

LGF: Why not? The investigation is over. We need more voices. We need muscle. We’ve had election fraud. Now we have election interference. For Crissakes’ look at what’s going on. Rally the troops. We need a ‘Georgia, this ain’t gonna’ happen here moment’… Enough is enough.

DM: I can’t do that.

LG: What the hell are you worried about? What’s wrong? Willis was elected like Bragg to get rid of Trump. We know that. What we need is proof of intent — ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ There’s doubt that a political witch hunt is not going on. You’re a lawyer. There is ‘First Amendment violation’ all over this. Just like the President’s papers; they belong to him. Look what they are doing there! So many violations!

DM: Calm down. You’re shouting. (Pause) Trump lied.

LG: He didn’t lie; he made a mistake. Committed an error. Dammit. His lawyers didn’t contain the papers. He couldn’t copy them. You know that he doesn’t take notes. So many laws were broken when he left. It was horrible — steal an election, then steal the President’s papers. No respect for the office. No respect for the country.

DM: Lindsey, you don’t have to convince me…

LG: So, what’s your problem?

DM: I can’t do that. I can’t wade into jury conviction waters. I can’t ask Barr to do that. It’s abusing the legal process…

LG (interrupting): You know what you’re making me into? The difficult client. You’re crossing a line here, Donnie. Don’t you know where I stand? I testified under oath that I was helping expose election tampering.

DM: Appearances.

LG: No Donnie, clouds.

DM: Clouds?

LG: Yeah, we need clouds of doubt and you are not rallying the tribes… I am. You are dwelling on law which is playing into their hands. You’re acting like you’re being set up. It’s pathetic really.

DM: That’s my job. I took an oath.

LG: Forget about the damn law for a moment and focus on… ‘doubt.’ The country is at stake. We lose this, we lose the country. We lose the election. That’s a helluva lot of ‘doubt.’ Trump is getting snuffed out and he’s all we got.

DM: Okay. I’ll try speaking to Barr; you speak to Epshteyn. Tell him to tell Trump that the cases focus on Trump, not the evidence, which is inconclusive…. And…

LG: And?

DM: And… you are going to propose a resolution on the Senate floor to pause all deliberation of charges of the former President until a bi-partisan Commission reviewing federal interference in state…

LG: Whoa, Donnie… what are you saying?

DM: Investigate violations of the election act. And protect the former President and his family.

LG: And how the hell am I gonna’ do that. (Pause) Have you spoken with McConnell lately?

DM: He’s recovering.

LG: Yeah, that’s my point.

DM: We need more time.

LG: We need doubt, Donnie, clouds of it. We need clouds of doubt.

(Pause)

Announcer: As we leave our hero, the background of the tidal pool and corridors of blooming cherry trees seem to mock the severity of the moment. The phone call ends and as if on cue, our hero receives another call. It’s from his communications director.

LG: Whaddya’ got for me.

CD: It's that tweet again.

LG: You mean ‘Deeper Throat?’

CD: Yeah, that guy.

LG: What did he tweet now?

CD: ‘Suck it up, Mr. Water Carrier, now you’re Mr. Bagman.’

LG: Screw him. I am tired.

(Pause. Strains of the series theme song Once in a Lifetime, by David Byrne, crescendos as Announcer signs off)

Announcer: Don’t forget to join us next week, for Episode 12, The Trials of Lindsey Graham, Water Carrier.

Into the blue again

After the moneys gone

Once in a lifetime

Water flowing underground

(*) Water Carrier: one who keeps the narrative of autocracy in play, keeps the narrative fluid; one who repeats and redeploys the rhetoric of the authoritarian.

Notes

1- “Fraud Holler”

2- “Canaryville”

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Rodney Clough

Refuses to nap. Septuagenarian. Cliche’ raker. Writes weekly.