Senate Republicans quickly ripped House Democrats for voting to impeach President Trump on Wednesday night, arguing that the chamber had been taken over by “the mob.”
The House passed two articles of impeachment — one on Trump abusing power in his dealings with Ukraine and another on him obstructing Congress during its investigation of those actions — making him the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) predicted that the votes made it “more likely” that Trump would win re-election next year.
“The mob took over the House. If she did not move to impeach this president, she would not be speaker,” he added, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), echoed Graham, accusing Pelosi of bringing the impeachment articles for a vote in an effort to appease progressives.
“This is a tragedy,” he said. “Impeachment used to be an important constitutional tool used rarely, not mental therapy for distraught liberals in the House of Representatives.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also knocked House Democrats, saying it marked the first time a president has been impeached “without alleging a single law was violated.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), meanwhile, called it “a sad day for our country.”
The House votes set up a trial in the Senate in January, though House Democrats are discussing delaying sending over the articles in an effort to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to agree to a fair set of rules for the Senate procedure.
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. With 67 votes required to convict Trump and remove him from office, it’s all but guaranteed that he will ultimately be acquitted at the end of a Senate trial.
Republicans are signaling that they want a quick Senate trial, potentially with neither side calling witnesses. However, Democrats have balked at the idea of not calling witnesses or requesting additional documents, arguing that it would amount to a “cover up.”
“The impeachment of a president is a solemn and serious moment for our country,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement after the House votes. “At the start of a trial in the Senate, all senators will swear an oath to render impartial justice. The American people deserve that the Senate conduct a full and fair trial.”
Democrats will need four Republican senators to vote with them to successfully call witnesses to testify. No GOP senator has yet to endorse Schumer’s request, which included wanting to call former national security advisor John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has floated trying to dismiss the articles of impeachment once they reach the Senate, called the House process a “sham.”
“This has been unnecessary, distracting, and counterproductive,” he said. “The Senate will not continue this partisan abuse of power and should at once put an end to the charade.”
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