During an appearance on CBS’s Face The Nation over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) offered a fervent attempted rebuttal to the impending impeachment trial proceedings against ex-President Donald Trump. These proceedings are set to begin this week, but 45 Republican Senators — including Graham — already voted in favor of a resolution against moving forward with the trial at all. While on CBS, Graham flubbed a basic fact, claiming that “we’ve never impeached a president once they’re out of office” as though this observation applies to Trump’s case. However, the House originally impeached Trump before he left office, and the Senate deals with the question of conviction.
The distinction between impeachment and conviction isn’t the only basic point that Graham flubbed. He also claimed that the House “is impeaching” Trump based on the notion that a speech that he gave on January 6 in D.C. “created a riot,” but House leaders who are responsible for the impeachment case have clearly outlined that their case against Trump goes beyond what happened on January 6, when his supporters stormed the Capitol. For months, Trump pushed unhinged lies about the integrity of the recent presidential election, and these lies provided the pretense for the rioters.
Asked about his take on Trump’s behavior, Graham told host Margaret Brennan as follows:
‘It’s not a crime. The House is impeaching him under the theory that his speech created a riot. When you look at the facts, many people had already planned to attack the Capitol before he ever spoke.’
After Brennan cut in and pointed out that the House has established that they impeached Trump over a long pattern of his incendiary behavior rather than solely the January 6 speech, Graham added as follows:
‘If you believe he committed a crime, he can be prosecuted like any other citizen. Impeachment is a political process. We’ve never impeached a president once they’re out of office. I think this is a very bad idea. 45+ Republicans are going to vote early on that it’s unconstitutional. It’s not a question of how the trial ends — it’s a question of when it ends. Republicans are going to view this as an unconstitutional exercise, and the only question is: Will they call witnesses? How long does the trial take? But the outcome is really not in doubt. That doesn’t mean what happened on January the 6th was okay. It means this impeachment in the eyes of most Republicans is an unconstitutional exercise.’
Check out his comments in the video below:
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 7, 2021
Only five Republican Senators, including Mitt Romney (Utah), Pat Toomey (Pa.), and others, voted in favor of moving forward with the trial. Because of the current party breakdown of the Senate, a full 17 Republicans would have to vote in favor of conviction for it to be enacted.