Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., claimed that any impeachment article against President Donald Trump should be “dismissed in the Senate without a trial."
Graham, who recently criticized Trump for abandoning America’s Kurdish allies in Syria, appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Tuesday to defend the president against the ongoing impeachment inquiry. (Hannity is known as an informal adviser to the president.)
"What the House of Representatives is doing is a process of political revenge. It is alien to American due process,” Graham said. "It should be dismissed quickly in the United States Senate."
Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the probe was “unconstitutional” and “illegitimate,” because Republicans have allegedly [!] been prevented from calling witnesses. Graham said he would introduce a resolution condemning the impeachment inquiry, which will state that any impeachment articles should be dismissed “without a trial.”
“We cannot allow future presidents and this president to be impeached based on an inquiry in the House that has never been voted upon, that does not allow the president to confront the witnesses against him, call witnesses on his behalf and cross-examine people that are accusing him of misdeeds,” Graham said.
Obviously, the resolution won't get the needed 60 votes, but it's still of interest in putting GOPers on record in a significant way. One theory would welcome a Senate trial as an opportunity to garner greater public attention for a wide ranging inquiry into the entire plot against Trump--starting with the Russia Hoax. The other view is that as a constitutional matter these House Dem shenanigans shouldn't be dignified by a Senate trial. That would be a public rebuke that could have political impact.
On the one hand, nothing in the Constitution says how the House should conduct impeachment inquiries--although a vote would appear to be necessary, open or closed hearings, presence of counsel for the president, opportunity to examine witnesses, all those appear to be somewhat unsettled. There is, however, the precedent of past impeachment inquiries. While precedent may not be binding, it does show that the sentiment of the people's House has always been that, even though an impeachment inquiry isn't a trial, it should be conducted with a high degree of seriousness and fairness, as befits such a grave proceeding.
On the other hand, nothing in the Constitution requires the Senate to accept the article(s) of a tyrannical House that ignores American standards of due process and basic fairness. The House inquiry, after all, is supposed to be about arriving at probable truth. Can the House compel the Senate? If the procedures followed ignore the standards that Americans have always recognized as integral to such a truth finding process, would it not be the duty of the Senate to rebuke the House and reject its articles as "illegitimate", simply to safeguard our constitutional order?
In any event, McConnell's support for the Graham resolution is interesting for two reasons.
First, in the past McConnell has claimed that the Senate would be required to hold such a trial. His latest statement, support Graham's resolution, suggests that he has reconsidered that position. He has been on record as previously stating that the House Impeachment Theater strikes at the heart of our constitutional order. Per The Hill:
"Overturning the results of an American election requires the highest level of fairness and due process, as it strikes at the core of our democratic process," McConnell wrote in a tweet earlier this month.
"So far, the House has fallen far short by failing to follow the same basic procedures that it has followed for every other President in our history," he added.
At that time McConnell still offered no remedy for the House's travesty of an inquiry, but Graham's resolution allows him now to do so. Even if it isn't binding on his future actions.
Secondly, McConnell's support for Graham's resolution comes very shortly after concerted attacks on the Senate for its obvious failures to conduct its own serious investigations into the Russia Hoax--attacks that have targeted Graham very specifically. McConnell's support also follows statements by Trump which I characterized as indicating Trump's willingness to "go to war" with the GOPe over the way they've been behaving with regard to both his foreign policy and the House's Impeachment Theater.
Has McConnell reconsidered following Trump's warning shots? It would behoove him to do so.
Raise your hand if you are going to cancel all donations to the GOP if they refuse to stand up for President Trump— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 24, 2019