Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a resolution Thursday to condemn the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Graham argued that Democrats in the House are wrongfully concealing the process as they gather testimony from administration officials related to Trump’s potential wrongdoing in pushing Ukraine to investigate his political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
During a press conference Thursday, Graham, the Senate Judiciary Chairman, called the inquiry “out of bounds” and “inconsistent with due process as we know it,” stating that how the inquiry is being conducted is a threat to future presidencies – implying that the Democrats actions will set a new precedent going forward.
Graham called for the House to give the “same rights to Trump as Clinton and Nixon,” two former presidents, had during their investigations. The resolution calls on House Democrats to hold a formal vote to open an impeachment inquiry.
The resolution is currently cosponsored by 41 Republican Senators.
“Every American should be disturbed by what is taking place in the House of Representatives regarding the attempt to impeach President Trump,” said Graham. “One of the cornerstones of American jurisprudence is due process – the right to confront your accuser, call witnesses on your behalf, and challenge the accusations against you. None of this is occurring in the House.”
Graham pointed out that during the impeachment inquiry of President Clinton – when the Democrats were in the minority of the House of Representatives – they had the ability to subpoena witnesses and documents on President Clinton’s behalf – President Trump does not. Clinton’s lawyers were also able to participate in cross-examining witnesses, subpoenaing documents, introducing and objecting to evidence, and otherwise defending the President against the accusations made against him. The Democrats are refusing to follow precedent.
“The House also refuses to open up a formal inquiry of impeachment because they know to do so would empower the Republican minority to attack the heart of these accusations,” Graham continued.
Graham concluded, “It is imperative the President be able to confront his accuser, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment. We cannot have a country where every American has rights except Donald Trump. I find the current process illegitimate and dangerous to the future of the presidency.”
The Graham-McConnell resolution:
calls on the House of Representatives, prior to proceeding any further with its impeachment investigation into President Trump, to vote to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry;
calls on the House of Representatives to provide President Trump, like every other American, with due process, to include the ability to confront his accusers, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment; and
calls on the House of Representatives to provide members of the minority with the ability to participate fully in all proceedings and have equal authority to issue subpoenas and other compulsory process. Full text of the resolution is here.
Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, hit back after Graham’s press conference, staying that “If the White House & its congressional allies truly wanted an open, transparent process: The White House would provide documents Congress requests, not defy subpoenas.”
“Rather than stomp feet in a fit of staged political theater—House Republicans must join us in getting the facts,” he continued.
If the White House & its congressional allies truly wanted an open, transparent process:
The White House would provide documents Congress requests, not defy subpoenas
Rather than stomp feet in a fit of staged political theater—House Republicans must join us in getting the facts pic.twitter.com/ABkS972Prs
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 24, 2019
In a show of defiance to the Democrats for denying President Trump equal justice, the White House has refused to provide documents or witnesses to House impeachment investigators because it considers their investigation to be unfair and illegitimate.
Graham also stated during the press conference that the White House is currently working on assembling a team to work on messaging surrounding the impeachment inquiry.
“I talked to Chief of Staff [Mick] Mulvaney. I think they’re working on getting a messaging team together,” Graham said, pointing again to the impeachment of Clinton in 1998, saying he “had a team that was organized, that had legal minds that could understand what was being said versus the legal proceedings in question, and they were on message every day.”
“President Clinton defended himself but he never stopped being president,” Graham reiterated.
Senator Graham ended the press conference saying, “I’m not here to tell you that Donald Trump has done nothing wrong” but insisted the process be fair.