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44 Republicans sign onto Graham resolution condemning impeachment inquiry

Graham himself.
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a resolution in the Senate Thursday condemning the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, calling on the House to vote to open a formal inquiry and provide Trump with "fundamental constitutional protections."

"If you can drive down a president's poll numbers by having proceedings where you selectively leak information, where the president who's the subject of all this is pretty much shut out, God help future presidents."
— Graham to reporters

The big picture: The Trump administration has said they will not cooperate with the inquiry because it is "unconstitutional," arguing that the president has been denied his due process rights. Republicans have also alleged a lack of transparency in the impeachment process, staging a protest that delayed one of the House's witness depositions on Wednesday. The resolution calls for Republicans to be granted equal subpoena power in all proceedings.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked with Graham to ensure the resolution's language was palatable to the Republican conference, according to a Senate aide.
  • 44 Republican senators have signed onto the resolutions, according to Graham.

What they're saying:

"The House of Representatives is abandoning more than a century’s worth of precedent and tradition in impeachment proceedings and denying President Trump basic fairness and due process accorded every American."

Between the lines: Axios' Jonathan Swan notes that influential figures in the Trump base, including Donald Trump Jr., have pressured Graham to take more action as Senate Judiciary chairman to combat House Democrats on impeachment.

  • A source close to Trump Jr. told Swan: "If you’re going to talk the talk on Fox, you better walk the walk in the chamber. And a resolution is just talk. People expect action."
  • Asked by reporters if he's being pressured by the White House to launch investigations, Graham said: "Yeah, I’ve been asked to call some people to the committee. That makes no sense to me. ... I’m going to do it the way I want to do it. I’m not going to turn the Senate into a circus."

What to watch: The resolution could force some vulnerable Senate Republicans who have wavered on impeachment and Trump's calls for foreign powers to investigate his political opponents to go on the record.

Read the resolution

Go deeper: How an impeachment inquiry works