Democratic House impeachment managers continue working this week to convince U.S. senators that former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric sparked a riot on Capitol Hill last month.
Evidence shows, however, that at least some of the agitators in the nation’s capital were already planning an attack before Trump addressed the crowd on Jan. 6 — and one Senate Republican wants to find out exactly what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) knew about those plans.
“There was no incitement”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) addressed the issue during a recent interview on Fox News. He brought up “something that nobody has talked about that’s important” in his on-air conversation with host Sean Hannity on Wednesday, Fox reported.
“If there was pre-planning, there was no incitement,” Graham said, asking the host if he agreed.
When Hannity replied with concurrence, Graham went on: “The managers got this cockamamie idea, absurd theory that Donald Trump was monitoring the Proud Boys’ website and other far-right websites and he and [former White House staffer] Dan Scavino knew that this was going to happen and they encouraged it.”
Further denouncing the Democrats’ position as “loony toons,” the senator opined that they are making the argument “because if the president didn’t know and it was actually preplanned, he’s not guilty.”
Instead of proving their stated claim, Graham complained that House managers are using “a liberal Democratic novel being presented as evidence.”
“Did she know about that?”
He went on to cite evidence that “the FBI and the Capitol Hill police actually now understand this was preplanned,” noting that rioters “were planting bombs the night before.”
Tying the entire ordeal to congressional leaders, Graham wondered what Pelosi knew about the plans to breach the Capitol building and when she knew it.
“If this was widely known by the FBI and Capitol Hill police, that people were planning to come to Washington before the 6th to create violence, I want to know, did she know about that?” he asked, according to Fox.
Graham concluded by opining that “most Republicans found the presentation by the House managers offensive and absurd,” later proclaiming his confidence that Trump will be acquitted. Reports later in the week seemed to bolster his position, including sources indicating that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is planning to vote for an acquittal.
Following a vote on Saturday to allow witnesses to be called, thus extending the length of the Senate trial, Graham defended his position by sharing his “firm belief that the House Managers are trying to investigate the case AFTER it was brought to the Senate” and that “if the body wants witnesses” he will “insist” on calling “multiple witnesses.”