In such a politically divided moment, Graham is merely saying out loud what has become increasingly obvious: the President has successfully rendered the investigation irrelevant, at least for his most fervent supporters (and that apparently includes virtually all of the Republican elected officials in both the House and the Senate). There is no evidence, no testimony, no revelatory text message, that can sway them. There is a justification for anything that has come out, and for anything that might still be revealed. Trump has framed the impeachment case, as with all the other challenges to his controversial actions over the past few years, as a purely partisan matter of loyalty and legitimacy.
It is not just Trump-loving Republicans who may react to the actual details of the investigation with indifference. Polls suggest that there is now nearly a complete partisan gulf between how Americans view the impeachment matter, with Democrats and independents in favor and Republicans against, in a way that makes the inquiry itself almost beside the point. How much does anyone—on either side of this yawning national divide—care about the evidence if they know in advance how they plan to interpret it? And, of course, the sense of constant crisis is overwhelming. How can Americans bother to keep track of who said what to whom about Ukraine when there will soon be another scandal, another cast of characters, another alarming development to monitor? On Tuesday, Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone went on trial for lying to Congress, and prosecutors said that he did so to protect the President. On Thursday, a New York court ordered Trump to pay two million dollars in damages for illegally misusing his Trump Foundation to help his 2016 campaign. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? There is already a Trump-era precedent that shows that engagement with the facts revealed by impeachment may be less than robust. After the release, this spring, of the four-hundred-and-forty-eight-page Mueller report, even many members of Congress confessed to not having read it, but that did not stop them from pronouncing their opinion on what it did or did not say regarding President Trump’s culpability.