Lindsey Graham on impeaching Donald Trump: "I am clearly made up my mind"

Lindsey Graham told "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Trump should "get out of the way" of those ready to acquit him

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 15, 2019 3:45PM (EST)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (Getty/Anna Moneymaker)
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (Getty/Anna Moneymaker)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he has "clearly made up" his mind about the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump and that he already plans on acquitting the president.

"I am clearly made up my mind," Graham told Margaret Brennan on Sunday. "I'm not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process. So I don't need any witnesses. The president can make a request to call witnesses. They can make a request or call [Vice President] Mike Pence and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and [former Vice President] Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. I am ready to vote on the underlying articles. I don't really need to hear a lot of witnesses."

When Brennan asked about Trump's comment that he would like members of his administration to testify, Graham replied that "if somebody is ready to acquit you, I'd sort of get out of the way." The South Carolina senator went on to explain that he does not want to call witnesses because "I want to make my decision based on the trial record established in the House as a basis for impeachment." Later in the interview, he framed his opposition to impeachment in part on how he claimed the House conducted its inquiry.

"This is the first impeachment trial being driven by partisan politicians conducted behind closed doors," Graham told Brennan. "The testimony was selectively leaked. The president was denied the ability to participate meaningful in the House hearing. And I want to end it. I have nothing but disdain for this." He later added, "I think this whole thing is a crock."

Graham's comments come on the heels of an interview with CNN International's Becky Anderson at the Doha Forum in Qatar. During that interview, Graham told Anderson that "I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here. What I see coming, happening today is just a partisan nonsense."

Graham, who during his interview with Brennan referred to Joe Biden as a "friend," told Anderson on Saturday that he did not object to Trump trying to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating the Bidens, even though there is no evidence they engaged in any wrongdoing.

"Now, Joe Biden is a dear friend. I've traveled all over the world with Joe Biden. He's running for president on the Democratic side. I think he'll do very well," Graham told Anderson. "The bottom line is his son was receiving $50,000 a month from a gas company run by the most corrupt guy in the Ukraine and about two months after they raided the gas company's president's home, they fired the prosecutor," Graham told Anderson. "Yeah, I think it's OK to talk about this kind of stuff."

While withholding $391 million in military aid allocated for Ukraine, Trump asked Zelensky to announce an investigation into an unfounded conspiracy theory that Joe Biden pressured Ukraine into removing a prosecutor from power because of an investigation into Biden's son, Hunter.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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