Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry

Senate Republicans introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE and calling on the House to hold a formal vote on the inquiry.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Trump putting TikTok ban on hold for 45 days: report This week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms MORE (R-S.C.) is spearheading the resolution, which is backed by 44 GOP senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations 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 RomneySenate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Stimulus checks debate now focuses on size, eligibility CNN chyron says 'nah' to Trump claim about Russia MORE (R-Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  On The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  On The Money: Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock | Meadows, Pelosi trade criticism on stalled stimulus talks | Coronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding MORE (R-Alaska), Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee Obama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements On The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP MORE (R-Colo.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderChamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection Pelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive Senate GOP opens door to smaller coronavirus deal as talks lag MORE (R-Tenn.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziChamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection Republicans battle over COVID-19 package's big price tag Conservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race MORE (R-Wyo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump and Biden tied in Georgia: poll Biden campaign staffs up in Georgia Doug Collins questions Loeffler's trustworthiness in first TV ad MORE (R-Ga.), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanLincoln Project targets Senate races in Alaska, Maine, Montana with M ad buy Overnight Energy: Official says protesters not cleared from Lafayette Square for Trump | Trump administration blasts banks refusing to fund Arctic drilling | 2019 coal production hit lowest level since 1978 Trump administration blasts banks that refuse to fund arctic drilling MORE (R-Alaska) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier Pompeo, lawmakers tangle over Germany troop withdrawal Senate report says Russian oligarchs evading U.S. sanctions through big-ticket art purchases 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 BidenTrump campaign emails supporters encouraging mask-wearing: 'We have nothing to lose' Cuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks 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 PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he's considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread 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 HannityThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Gohmert tests positive; safety fears escalate on Capitol Hill Trump again targets Fox: 'They totally forgot who got them where they are' Trump's too little, too late coronavirus pivot 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.