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Photo: Axios on HBO

In an interview with "Axios on HBO," Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of President Trump's most vital allies on Capitol Hill, opened the door to changing his mind on impeachment if there turns out to be what he considers a quid pro quo.

Why it matters: Graham was a fiery House prosecutor during the 1998 impeachment trial of President Clinton. Now that Graham is in the Senate, he'll vote to acquit — or remove — Trump if he's impeached by the House.

"Sure. I mean ... show me something that ... is a crime," Graham told Axios' Jonathan Swan. "If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing."

  • "As to asking China to look into Biden, that was stupid. ... Bad idea. That didn't last very long. I think that's a frustrated Trump."

But Trump's Ukraine call isn't impeachable on its own, Graham said: "I've read the transcript of the Ukrainian phone call. That's not a quid pro quo to me."

  • The interview was Tuesday, before acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney gave Thursday's "quid pro quo" briefing.
  • Graham's spokesperson, Kevin Bishop, said Friday that Graham still has not heard or seen anything that he deems impeachable.

The big picture: Trump's loosening hold on Graham reflects the mess the president has created for himself in the past two weeks.

  • At the very time he needs a Republican fortress against impeachment, GOP lawmakers are furious at him over his rash pullback in Syria.
  • In the interview, Graham called Trump's abandonment of the Kurds "dishonorable" and a "sh*tshow."

Graham said he's changed his view of Trump's character since opposing him during the 2016 primaries:

  • "I've got to know him, and I find him to be a handful," Graham said. "I find him to be an equal opportunity abuser of people. But at the end of the day, he can be very charming and be very gracious, and I'm judging him by his conduct."

Graham, a Trump golfing companion, said he continues to support Trump's presidency because he's "a Republican. I like his domestic policies. So you play the ball as it lies."

  • "If I spent all day analyzing every tweet he issued, I'd go nuts."

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swim team wins 6 Tokyo Olympics medals, including 1st gold

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him.

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States on the 18th tee during Day Two of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 16 in Sandwich, England. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Golf announced late Saturday.

What's happening: "Patrick Reed will replace DeChambeau and is undergoing the requisite testing protocol" Sunday and Monday before his expected departure for Japan, per a USA Golf statement.

In photos: Scenes from some of the worst fires raging in the U.S.

A home explodes into flames as the Dixie Fire rips through the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. The blaze started near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire and has churned burned over 185,000 acres. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Out-of-state crews went to Montana to tackle a wildfire that wounded five firefighters as Australia sent a large air tanker to help Californian firefighting efforts, as 88 large blazes raged in the U.S. Saturday.

The big picture: Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) tweeted his thanks to Utah and California for sending crews over the weekend, as the two states battle their own blazes. The Australian tanker arrived in Calif., this week, where Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) proclaimed a state of emergency for four northern counties Friday.