Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry

Senate Republicans introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE and calling on the House to hold a formal vote on the inquiry.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Trump says he's considering restricting travel to coronavirus 'hot spots' MORE (R-S.C.) is spearheading the resolution, which is backed by 44 GOP senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Progressive group knocks McConnell for talking judicial picks during coronavirus Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill 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 RomneyTrump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans MORE (R-Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus GOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves GOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus Murkowski pushes Mnuchin for oil company loans MORE (R-Alaska), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerGOP senator calls for investigation into 'mismanagement' of strategic ventilators Romney says he tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in quarantine Senate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads MORE (R-Colo.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSticking points force stimulus package talks to spill into Sunday GOP drafting stimulus package without deal with Democrats Senate coronavirus stimulus talks spill into Saturday MORE (R-Tenn.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Republicans scramble to avoid Medicare land mine MORE (R-Wyo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler traded .4M in stocks as Congress responded to coronavirus pandemic Loeffler under fire for stock trades amid coronavirus outbreak The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden riding wave of momentum after stunning Super Tuesday MORE (R-Ga.), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanGOP senators begin informal talks on new coronavirus stimulus GOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC Overnight Energy: Democratic lawmakers seek emissions reductions in airline bailout | House Dems warn Trump against oil industry bailout | GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market MORE (R-Alaska) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senator to donate 2 months of salary in coronavirus fight Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on 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 BidenSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Trump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' 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 PelosiPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor Pelosi, Democrats using coronavirus to push for big tax cuts for blue state residents US watchdog vows 'aggressive' oversight after intel official fired 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 HannityHannity blasts criticism of Fox News: 'I have taken this seriously' California governor responds to Nunes on canceling school: 'We'll continue to listen to the experts' 74 journalism professors accuse Fox News of spreading coronavirus misinformation 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.