With just two days left to go before the Senate impeachment trial kicks off, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) isn’t optimistic about his initial plan for a pre-Senate trial dismissal.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Graham appeared to shoot down his own idea that the GOP-led Senate could immediately vote to dismiss the impeachment case without hearing any arguments due to lack of votes.
“Yeah, that’s dead for practical purposes,” Graham said. “There are a lot of senators who I think will wind up acquitting the President that believe that we need to hear the house’s case, the President’s case, answer to the House’s case and ask questions and then that’s when the witness requests will be. So the idea of dismissing the case early on is not going to happen. We don’t have the votes for that.”
After saying that the Senate will “play it out along the Clinton model,” Wallace pressed Graham on why he had no opposition to witnesses during the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial unlike how he’s now pushing for the trial to began and end as quickly as possible.
Graham responded that “all these witnesses” — which include Secretary of the State Mike Pompeo and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — “were available to the House” and argued that the House restricted Trump from exercising his executive privilege.
“The President has said he would claim executive privilege,” Graham said. “Here’s what’s happened: In the House, they did this in 48 days. They never allowed the President to exercise executive privilege and when he suggested he might, they impeached him for obstructing Congress.”
The night before Graham’s interview, Trump’s legal team characterized the impeachment articles as “constitutionally invalid” in its formal response to the Senate summons.
Watch Graham’s remarks below:
Graham admits pre-trial dismissal is "dead for practical purposes" pic.twitter.com/eouKhAqOud
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 19, 2020