Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) repeated the sentiments of his GOP colleagues on Sunday and explained the outcome of the Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump, which is slated to begin Tuesday, is “really not in doubt.” He predicted it will result in an acquittal as Democrats appear to lack support from enough Republicans to convict him.
Graham made clear he does not intend to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial despite initially referring to the January 6 event as “a self-inflicted wound.”
“It’s not a crime. I mean, the House is impeaching him under the theory that his speech created a riot,” he told Face the Nation’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday. “When you look at the facts, many people had already planned the- to attack the Capitol before he ever spoke.”
Brennan referred to the trial memo, which contends that the former president’s pattern of behavior, particularly casting doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election, led to the siege of the Capitol.
“Yeah, well, here’s what I would say, that if you believe you committed a crime, he can be prosecuted like any other citizen. Impeachment is a political process. We’ve never impeached a president once they’re out of office,” Graham said, calling it a “very bad idea.”
“Forty-five plus Republicans are going to vote early on that it’s unconstitutional,” he said, referencing Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) motion. “It’s not a question of how the trial ends. It’s a question of when it ends.”
“Republicans are going to view this as an unconstitutional exercise. And the only question is, will they call witnesses? How long does the trial take? But the outcome is really not in doubt,” he concluded, emphasizing that he is not condoning what occurred at the U.S. Capitol that day as lawmakers gathered to certify the electoral vote.
“That doesn’t mean what happened on January the 6th was okay. It means this impeachment, in the eyes of most Republicans, is an unconstitutional exercise,” the South Carolina lawmaker said.
While Graham said he does not believe the former president’s behavior is a crime, he said he could be charged with one “if people think he committed it because he’s now a private citizen.”
When pressed by Brennan on his position on the riots and Trump’s alleged role, Graham stressed that the trial is “blatantly unconstitutional.”
“He’s not in office. Impeachment for a president requires the chief justice to preside over the trial. He’s not at the trial because President Trump is not the president. So this is not process,” he said.
“The Constitution, I think, is being flagrantly violated because, when it comes to Trump, there seems to be no end to all of this. So, the trial is going to result in an acquittal,” he added.
The Democrat-led House impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection one week after the January 6 protest. The trial is expected to begin on Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made his intentions abundantly clear during a speech to colleagues last month, explaining that the primary objective remains on preventing Trump from ever running for office again.
“After what he has done, the consequences of which we were all witness to, Donald Trump should not be eligible to run for office ever again,” Schumer told colleagues on Trump’s final full day in office.
“There will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate. There will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors. If the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him again,” he promised.