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Graham assures Trump of acquittal after rocky start to trial

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Sunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Georgia DA investigating Trump taps racketeering expert for probe: report MORE (R-S.C.), one of former President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE’s closest Senate allies, reassured Trump Tuesday evening that he will be acquitted on a charge of inciting an insurrection, even though his lawyers received bad reviews after opening arguments. 

“I think his team will do better, can do better,” Graham told reporters, summarizing his conversation with Trump. “I reinforced to the president, the case is over. It’s just a matter of getting the final verdict now.”

Graham made his confident prediction after 44 Republican senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  We need a voting rights workaround Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Ky.), voted against proceeding with a trial that Trump’s defense team argued was unconstitutional. 

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Graham said Trump didn’t appear to be frustrated with the opening arguments, even though CNN reported Tuesday that he was close to screaming at the television while watching his lawyer Bruce Castor deliver a meandering opening statement.

“Well, not, no, not particularly,” Graham said when asked if he sensed frustration on the part of the former commander in chief. “We mostly talked about the vote, and I said we had 44 people saying it’s not constitutional.”

A key development Tuesday was Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyTrump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC Republicans, please save your party Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra MORE’s (R-La.) vote to proceed with the trial after voting two weeks ago in support of a motion made by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (R-Ky.) declaring the trial unconstitutional.

Cassidy later criticized Trump’s defense team as “disorganized” and “unfocused.”

“It was disorganized, random, had nothing — they talked about many things, but they didn't talk about the issue at hand," he said. 

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Graham, however, predicted that not all of the GOP senators who voted to proceed with the trial will also vote at the end of the trial to convict Trump, which — if successful — would set up a subsequent vote to bar him from holding future office.

“I think the vote for not guilty will probably grow beyond 44,” he said.

“I respect Bill. He’s a really good senator. He’s done a great job up here,” he added when asked about the backlash from Trump supporters against Cassidy’s vote. 

“People are emotional about President Trump,” he noted. “I’m sure Bill will be fine. He will vote his conscience at the end of the day. Let’s just see how he votes when it’s all said and done.”