Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry

Senate Republicans introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE and calling on the House to hold a formal vote on the inquiry.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Report on alleged surveillance abuse in 2016 to be released Dec. 9 McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (R-S.C.) is spearheading the resolution, which is backed by 44 GOP senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 FDA pick dodges questions on Trump's flavored vape ban Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping Progressive Democrats ramp up attacks on private equity MORE (R-Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day MORE (R-Alaska), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Colo.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures MORE (R-Tenn.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziBudget process quick fixes: Fixing the wrong problem Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Senate committee advances budget reform plan MORE (R-Wyo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonHundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia Veterans face growing threat from online disinformation Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid MORE (R-Ga.), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanRomney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution GOP worries it's losing impeachment fight Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Alaska) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBudget process quick fixes: Fixing the wrong problem Why Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump 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 BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 HannityFox's Neil Cavuto rips into Trump over attacks on Chris Wallace's impeachment coverage Graham: Senate trial 'must expose the whistleblower' Graham says Schiff should be a witness in Trump impeachment trial 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.