Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry

Senate Republicans introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE and calling on the House to hold a formal vote on the inquiry.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk MORE (R-S.C.) is spearheading the resolution, which is backed by 44 GOP senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Trump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request 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 RomneyOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Donald Trump: Unrepentant, on the attack and still playing the victim The Hill's Campaign Report: New challenges for 2020 Dems in Nevada, South Carolina MORE (R-Utah), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Toward 'Super Tuesday' — momentum, money and delegates MORE (R-Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE (R-Alaska), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Impeachment fallout threatens to upend battle for Senate MORE (R-Colo.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE (R-Tenn.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziLawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Republicans scramble to avoid Medicare land mine McConnell will not bring budget resolution to the floor MORE (R-Wyo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonProgressive group backs Senate candidates in Georgia, Iowa Overnight Health Care: Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid, ACA by T | Trump proposes removing FDA authority over tobacco | Lawmakers frustrated by lack of emergency funds for coronavirus Anti-abortion group backs Loeffler's election campaign after opposing her Senate appointment MORE (R-Ga.), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSwing votes steal spotlight in marathon Trump impeachment Q&A Live coverage: Senators enter second day of questions in impeachment trial The Hill's Campaign Report: Ten days to Iowa MORE (R-Alaska) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to combat cyberattacks on state and local governments 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 BidenBloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders HuffPost reporter: Sanders could win plurality of delegates but lose nomination Meghan McCain to Joy Behar: 'You guys have done a piss-poor job of convincing me that I should vote for a Democrat' 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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Malaysia says it will choose 5G partners based on own standards, not US recommendations 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 HannityCarville fires back at Sanders for 'hack' slam: 'At least I'm not a communist' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden leaving New Hampshire early as voting underway Senators, bruised by impeachment, hunt for deals 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.