Backfire potential: Yuuuuge. As Senate Judiciary Committee chair, Lindsey Graham has played it safe on the Democrats’ push for impeachment, preferring to criticize their efforts while carefully calculating his criticisms of Donald Trump. Today, however, Graham appears to want to roll the dice on perhaps the loosest cannon of Ukraine-Gate by inviting Rudy Giuliani to explain everything:

What could go wrong? Well … practically everything, if Giuliani sticks to his most recent form. After all, this is not an invitation for a monologue presentation, but presumably a normal hearing (open or closed) in which every member gets their opportunity to question Giuliani. Giuliani has not exactly been a model of decorum when challenged by talk show hosts on his claims and assumptions, and while that makes for great television and radio, that kind of undisciplined approach might not work out too well in a Senate hearing.

The optics are the least of the worries. Once Giuliani starts testifying, Senate Democrats will demand to know precisely what Giuliani has been doing in Ukraine for the last several months, and what claims he has made on Trump’s behalf. That’s an area where Giuliani has claimed attorney-client privilege, but it’s going to be tough to maintain that without losing credibility in defending Trump in other areas. In fact, this might be the very kind of trap that Democrats were hoping to spring on Giuliani in the House. Perhaps Giuliani will be clever enough to avoid the traps, but there will be some pretty clever people across the dais, too.

Like, um … three of the Democrats’ presidential candidates, for example:

Ugly? We might even get another Spartacus moment.

Graham apparently wants to show up the House in demonstrating that the Senate can run a more balanced and proper investigation. Given the fire-drill circus in the lower chamber under Adam Schiff’s direction, that’s almost a gimme, isn’t it? Graham’s also likely hoping that he can get Giuliani’s information about Ukraine and corruption into the headlines to compete with the Democrats’ narrative, which has dominated thus far over the past couple of weeks on Ukraine-Gate. If Graham can keep Giuliani focused and disciplined, that might be well worth the risk of opening Senate hearings on Ukraine, but … that’s not just a mighty big if, it looks more like The Impossible Dream.

Nevertheless, Republicans need to start somewhere to change the narrative, as polling becomes more worrisome on impeachment. They can’t accomplish that in the House, so the Senate it is, and Giuliani’s long involvement in Ukraine is the logical — if potentially the most dangerous — place to start. Have fun storming the castle, Senator.

Addendum: It doesn’t sound as though Giuliani’s too keen on the idea:

In response to a request for comment on Graham’s announcement, Giuliani told CNN, “Love Lindsey, but I am still a lawyer and I will have to deal with privilege.”

But Giuliani added, “Given the nature of his invitation about my concerns I might be able to do it without discussing privileged information.”

If the questioning was only from Graham, sure. That’s not how this works, though — that’s not how any of this works, and Giuliani knows it.

That might leave Graham with some egg on his face, and on Trump’s as well. What will it look like when Giuliani refuses Graham’s invitation? It’s not going to look better for Trump, that’s for sure. Did Graham check in first with Giuliani?