Graham urging Biden to get Pelosi to ‘call off’ impeachment proceedings

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is urging President-elect Joe Biden to convince congressional Democrats to drop plans to proceed to an impeachment trial against President Trump.

Graham, who has spoken out against the Democratic impeachment effort, issued the plea to Biden in a series of tweets after the House voted on a bipartisan basis to impeach Trump making him the first president to be impeached twice.

“It is now time for President-elect Biden to rise to the occasion and instruct his party to call off post-presidential impeachment proceedings,” Graham wrote in the tweets.

Graham added that Biden should urge congressional leadership to stand down because moving forward with a trial after Trump has left office would be, in the GOP senator’s view, a “destructive force” for both the presidency and the country.

“Every president is subject to the laws of the land. However, impeachment is political and will further divide the nation,” he added.

There’s no sign that Biden will urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) to stand down, even as an impeachment trial could eat up weeks of the start of his administration or that the Democratic leaders would agree to try such a procedural gambit.

Biden has avoided publicly weighing in on the impeachment effort, signaling that he would leave that up to congressional leaders as he focuses on legislative priorities and getting his Cabinet confirmed.

He disclosed to reporters this week that he has reached out to the Senate parliamentarian to discuss if the chamber can divide its time between legislation or nominations and an impeachment trial, something the Senate didn’t do during Trump’s 2020 trial.

“I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation,” Biden said in a statement on Wednesday. 
Though the House voted to impeach Trump on Wednesday, with the support of 10 House Republicans, it’s unclear when precisely a Senate trial will start. House Democratic leadership hasn’t announced their timeline and Pelosi didn’t respond to reporters questions about timing at a press conference shortly after the vote.

But the trial will take place during Biden’s administration after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused a request from Schumer to use a 2004 authority granted to leadership that would have let them bring the Senate back into session early. Without either exercising that power, or consent from every senator, the Senate will not return to session until Jan. 19, the day before Biden will be sworn in.

“The House of Representatives has voted to impeach the President. The Senate process will now begin at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House,” McConnell said in a statement

Under a memo circulated by McConnell late last week, the earliest the Senate could begin consideration of the impeachment articles is at 1 p.m. either on Jan. 20, the day Biden is sworn in, or Jan. 21, the day after he is sworn in.

McConnell has stuck closely to Trump over the past four years but, underscoring GOP anger with the president in the wake of last week’s attack, isn’t closing the door to voting to convict him.

“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote in the letter to the caucus.

Though much of the caucus has been silent on the House impeachment effort, Graham is one of several GOP senators who have come out against it.

He’s also been calling his GOP colleagues for several days urging them to oppose convicting Trump as part of the Senate trial, a spokesperson confirmed to The Hill earlier Wednesday.

“This was his own initiative, not a specific request from the White House,” the spokesperson added. 

Tags Charles Schumer Donald Trump Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi
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