Dec 15, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Lindsey Graham says he's not trying to be a "fair juror" in impeachment trial

Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that he's ready to vote against removing President Trump from office in a Senate trial, even before the House has held a full-body vote on articles of impeachment.

"I think what's best for the country is to get this thing over with. I have clearly made up my mind. 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. ... I am ready to vote on the underlying articles. I don't really need to hear a lot of witnesses."
ā€” Lindsey Graham

Why it matters: Before beginning an impeachment trial, Senate rules dictate that senators must swear an oath to do "impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws."

  • Graham said in an interview with CNN Saturday that he is "not trying to pretend to be a fair juror."

The big picture: Graham recently told Axios that he believes it's best to "deep-six" a possible impeachment trial as quickly as possible, which potentially clashes with Trump's desire to have Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and other White House officials stage a public defense of his dealings with Ukraine.

  • Graham said he doesn't believe it would be "good for the country" for White House officials to sit as witnesses during the trial. Instead, Graham said he wants to make his decision based on the "trial record established in the House."
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week vowed "total coordination" with the White House on Senate trial, adding that there is "zero chance" that Trump will be removed from office. Like Graham, he favors a short trial that would include no witnesses, according to the Washington Post.

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