Graham Slams Democrats’ Handling of Impeachment Probe

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with members of the media Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (CN) – Galvanizing the Republican opposition, Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution Thursday that urges Democrats to change how they conduct the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Graham introduced the resolution, which is co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and 42 other Republicans, one day after House Republicans stormed a secure room in the basement of the Capitol where the committees marshaling the impeachment inquiry have been conducting interviews.

Republicans have loudly objected to the process surrounding the impeachment probe, criticizing the Democrats who chair the committees for not holding public hearings and House leadership for not holding a vote to authorize the inquiry, as happened with the inquiries into Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

There are 48 Republicans serving on the three committees that are conducting the investigation, making them eligible to attend the hearings and question witnesses. 

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said repeatedly since the impeachment inquiry first got underway that the decision to conduct depositions behind closed doors was one made out of necessity, but that witness testimony and transcripts would be made public after the fact.

Republicans meanwhile have accused Democrats of selectively leaking testimony to hurt Trump. They have also objected that they have not been able to bring in their own witnesses who could counter the allegations of those Democrats have called.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican and top Trump ally in the Senate, said the process has been unfair and departs from the precedent of previous impeachment inquiries.

“Here’s the request: If you believe you have a case against the president, vote to open up an inquiry, allow Republicans to have a say, make sure the president is allowed to participate in a meaningful manner like we did in the past, that’s the way to do it,” Graham said. “What you’re doing today, in my view, is unfair to the president and is dangerous to the presidency.”

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday the House is planning to hold public hearings as soon as the middle of next month.

Republican complaints over the impeachment process have sharpened in recent days, amid public urging from the president and particularly damaging testimony earlier this week from Bill Taylor, a top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine.

Taylor testified on Tuesday that it became clear during his time in Ukraine that the White House was holding up a military aid package until Ukraine publicly announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, striking to the heart of the issues that spawned the impeachment inquiry.

In his leaked opening statement, Taylor also detailed the involvement of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in pushing the Biden investigation through an “irregular” diplomatic channel.

Trump mentioned an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter, in a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, though he has repeatedly denied he conditioned the aid package on the announcement of an investigation.

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