Further Evidence That The Fix Is In For Trump’s Senate Trial
Lindsey Graham is the latest Senator to make clear that he's already made up his mind on impeachment.
Senator Lindsey Graham isn’t even pretending that he’s entering into the upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate with an open mind:
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Saturday that he’s made up his mind that President Trump should be acquitted, dismissed the notion that he has to be a “fair juror” and said he doesn’t see the need for a formal trial in the Senate.
Graham, a staunch defender of the president, made the comments overseas during an interview with CNN International at the Doha Forum in Qatar.
“I think impeachment is going to end quickly in the Senate. I would prefer it to end as quickly as possible,” Graham said. “Use the record that was assembled in the House to pass impeachment articles as your trial record.”
Asked whether it was appropriate for him to share those thoughts given his purported role as a juror in a Senate trial, Graham replied, “Well, I must think so because I’m doing it.”
“I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here,” he added.
Graham’s comments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) disclosed that he intends to work in concert with the Trump legal team on how a Senate trial will play out.
Many senators have refused to weigh in on the merits of the Trump impeachment case, citing their future role as impartial jurors. When asked to react to McConnell’s plans to take his cues from the White House counsel, spokespeople for GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Mitt Romney (Utah) never responded.
In a pretaped interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that aired Sunday, Graham said he has no interest in inviting former vice president Joe Biden or his son Hunter Biden to testify in a Senate trial. Questions Republicans have for them regarding their dealings with Ukraine can be dealt with separately, Graham said.
The impeachment inquiry centers on Trump’s desire to dig up evidence of corruption by the Bidens in Ukraine and his request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation.
Graham also told CBS he’d be interested in hearing separately from Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has launched his own investigation into the Bidens in Ukraine.
“I want to end this matter quickly and move on to other things,” Graham said. “We can look at what Rudy’s got and Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at after impeachment, but if Rudy wants to come to the Judiciary Committee and testify about what he found, he’s welcome to do so.”
As several people pointed out on social media over the weekend, this stands in stark contrast with what Graham had to say during the Clinton impeachment:
“I have a duty far greater than just getting to the next election,” Graham said back then. “Members of the Senate have said, ‘I understand everything there is about this case, and I won’t vote to impeach the president.’ Please allow the facts to do the talking. … Don’t decide the case before the case’s end.”
Quite a change over the course of 21 years isn’t it? Of course, back then Graham was a Republican Congressman who would go on to become one of the House’s impeachment managers that presented the case in favor of President Clinton’s conviction and removal from office. This time, he’s a Republican who, especially since the death of his former colleague John McCain, has proven to be one of the President’s most obsequious defenders in the Senate.
This report came just days after it was reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was in close communication with the White House Counsel’s Office and other Trump Administration officials regarding the trial. McConnell also stated that he was “certain” that no Republicans would be voting in favor of the President’s removal from office. While it isn’t necessarily unusual that McConnell, who is responsible for scheduling the start of the trial and other procedural and timing issues, would consult with the President’s attorneys regarding the trial (just as he ought to be consulting with the House, by the way), the fact that McConnell is doing so at the same time he’s basically saying that Senate Republicans basically just want to go through the motions, get the trial over with, and acquit the President as everyone expects they will.
It also stands in stark contrast to the oath that Senators will take prior to the start of the trial:
I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be,) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [Insert name of officer being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: so help me God.
Obviously Senators McConnell and Graham, as well as several others, including McConnell’s fellow Republican Senator Rand Paul, have no intention of abiding by that oath. They have already made up their minds, or are simply willing to ignore the evidence against the President either because they support the President because they are behaving like a sycophant toward him to protect their own careers, because they have sold out, or because they are cowards who are afraid of the ire of the President and his supporters. Whatever, the explanation is it’s hardly adequate. Graham and his fellow Republicans ought to be ashamed of themselves, but clearly they have no shame.
As I have said before, it’s clear that there would not be 20 Republicans who would join with Democrats to convict and remove the President from office. That fact, however, doesn’t make what we’re watching unfold any less outrageous, though. The Constitution gives the Senate the duty to preside over the trial of an impeached President, but these Senators have already made clear that they would put party, and loyalty to the President, ahead of the country. They have made clear that they would essentially ignore whatever evidence might be presented to them regarding the President’s wrongdoing. It’s not surprising, but it is outrageous and it is yet another reason why this party cannot be taken seriously and cannot be trusted with power.