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Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry

Senate Republicans introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE and calling on the House to hold a formal vote on the inquiry.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPortman on Trump's dominance of GOP: Republican Party's policies are 'even more popular' Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents MORE (R-S.C.) is spearheading the resolution, which is backed by 44 GOP senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner Trump rules out starting a new party: 'Fake news' Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE (R-Ky.).

Graham, during a press conference with reporters, lashed out the House impeachment inquiry calling it a "secret proceeding" and a "rogue action" that "denies due process." 

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"The process in the House today I think is a danger to the future of the presidency," Graham told reporters. 

He argued that under the current procedure Trump was "pretty much shut out," adding "God help future presidents." 

The resolution, if passed, would throw Senate support behind asking the House to "vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry and provide President Trump with fundamental constitutional protections" before going further into the impeachment inquiry. 

The resolution calls on the House to hold a formal vote to start the impeachment inquiry, argues that the House should give Trump "due process" including "the ability to confront his accusers" and says that the House should give Republicans the ability to issue their own subpoenas. 

The GOP senators not cosponsoring the resolution as of Thursday afternoon, according to a list from Graham's office, are: Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyEx-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress Five takeaways from CPAC 2021 Trump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner MORE (R-Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Collins urges Biden to revisit order on US-Canada border limits MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiNew super PAC aims to support lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict Trump Kinzinger: GOP 'certainly not united' on 'vision for the future' Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents MORE (R-Alaska), Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziLummis adopts 'laser eyes' meme touting Bitcoin Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes With Senate at stake, Georgia is on all our minds MORE (R-Wyo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock Perdue on potential 2022 run: GOP must regain the Senate Bottom line MORE (R-Ga.), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Sanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack Senate confirms Vilsack as Agriculture secretary MORE (R-Alaska) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate Portman on Trump's dominance of GOP: Republican Party's policies are 'even more popular' Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (R-Ohio). 

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The resolution comes as Republicans have fumed over the House impeachment inquiry, which has included near daily closed-door depositions with current and former administration officials. House investigations center around whether Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in exchange for the country opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden offers support to union organizing efforts Senate Democrats nix 'Plan B' on minimum wage hike Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits MORE and his son Hunter Biden.

Trump and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill have criticized how House Democrats are handling the impeachment inquiry, arguing they should hold a vote to formally launch the investigation.

McConnell in a statement said the House inquiry is "violating basic rules of due process" and "breaking with critical precedents."  

“House Democrats are even denying their own Republican colleagues basic procedural rights that the minority party was granted throughout previous impeachments," McConnell added. 

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), who is also cosponsoring the resolution, added that lawmakers "can’t just ignore centuries of precedent and the protections set up in our Constitution. Democrats musts think the American people are really stupid.”

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House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner Biden brings back bipartisan meetings at the White House McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) has argued the rules don't require a vote. However, Republicans say it would give them more leeway to call their own witnesses and put swing-state Democrats on the record on launching the impeachment inquiry.

Graham also blasted the media, saying they would be "beating the shit out of us" if Republicans were running a similar inquiry against a Democratic president.

"If we pulled this stunt you would be eating us alive," Graham said. "I think if a Republican were doing to a Democrat what we're doing, you would be all over me and I think it says a lot about people in your business."

"I am confident that if we had an Intel committee inquiry involving a Democratic president where we selectively leaked stuff you would be calling us every kind of bad name, and we would deserve it," Graham added. 

Graham has emerged as one of the president's loudest supporters against the House impeachment inquiry. His press conference on Thursday came shortly after he went to the White House for lunch and a situation briefing on Syria.

Asked about the lunch and Trump's mood, Graham said "he felt like since the time he's become president, he's been hounded about things he didn't do. He feels like that it never ends." 

Graham first floated the idea of the resolution during an interview this week with Fox News's Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityGrenell hints at potential California gubernatorial bid Cruz blames criticism of Cancun trip on media 'Trump withdrawal' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Tanden's odds plummet to lead OMB MORE.

"This resolution puts the Senate on record condemning the House. ... Here's the point of the resolution: Any impeachment vote based on this process, to me, is illegitimate, is unconstitutional, and should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial," Graham told Hannity.

Updated at 4:43 p.m.