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Sen. Lindsey Graham has urged incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer not to hold an impeachment trial in the chamber once President Trump leaves office because it would only “incite further division” and delay the nation’s “healing.”
The South Carolina Republican said in a letter to Schumer on Sunday that he should hold a vote to dismiss the one article of impeachment passed last week by the House 232-197 for “incitement of an insurrection.”
Graham said a Senate attempt to disqualify Trump from seeking office in the future “would be an unconstitutional act of political vengeance, not a righteous constitutional act to protect the Nation by removal of an incumbent president.”
Graham wrote that ”Such a gratuitous, meaningless effort … is neither worthy of our great institution, nor a service to our great Nation and the American people. It will incite further division.”
If the Senate fails to dismiss the article of impeachment and proceed with a trial, Graham said, “we will be delaying indefinitely, if not forever, the healing of this great Nation if we do otherwise.”
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the trial against Trump would not be able to begin at least until after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Wednesday because the chamber is in recess until Tuesday.
By the time a trial would get underway, Trump would be out of office.
The president was impeached a second time by the House last Wednesday, exactly a week after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol as a joint-session of Congress met to certifiy the Electoral College results for Biden.
Five people were killed because of the mayhem, including a Capitol Police officer who died the next day from the wounds received while defending the building.
Graham on Sunday appeared to suggest the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to blame for the mayhem because she controls security at the Capitol.
“To see people come and take over the Capitol – the House and the Senate – beat officers, defile the seat of government. How in the hell could that happen? Where was Nancy Pelosi? It’s her job to provide Capitol security,” he said on Fox News‘ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“We’ll get to the bottom of that,” he added.
Pelosi has launched an investigation into the security response to the riot, including examining whether any Republican lawmakers played a role in helping the mob.
Meanwhile Sunday, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), one of the House impeachment managers, would say only that the article of impeachment will be sent “soon” to the Senate, and that he agrees with Pelosi that Trump is a “clear and present danger” to the country.
“I don’t think anybody would seriously argue that we should establish a precedent where every president on the way out the door has two weeks or three weeks or four weeks to try to incite an armed insurrection against the union or organize a coup against the union, and if it succeeds, he becomes a dictator, and if it fails, he’s not subject to impeachment or conviction because we just want to let bygones be bygones,” Raskin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Ten Republican House members crossed the aisle to join Democrats in voting for impeachment.
Last December, no Republicans bucked the party to vote to impeach Trump.
In the interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Graham called on Biden to reach out to Schumer and end the impeachment process.
“Stand down,” Graham said, referring to Biden.
“This is being driven by the radical left. And what is Joe Biden doing? He’s sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing. One phone call from President-elect Joe Biden would stop this.”
Schumer’s office did not immediately comment on Graham’s comments, saying they had yet to read the letter.
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