Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry
Senate Republicans introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and calling on the House to hold a formal vote on the inquiry.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is spearheading the resolution, which is backed by 44 GOP senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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.”
“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 Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
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 Biden 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 Kennedy (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.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (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 Hannity.
“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.
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