It seems all but certain that former President Donald Trump will be acquitted upon the conclusion of a second Senate impeachment trial against him — but one prominent Republican is prepared to up the ante if necessary.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared this week that he would call President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other high-ranking Democratic officials as witnesses if that party forces his hand.
Graham wants trial to be over by Sunday
As the Washington Examiner reported, Graham’s ultimatum came during an interview with Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity on Monday.
For their part, Democratic lawmakers and many in the mainstream media have argued that Trump bore responsibility for inciting a deadly riot on Capitol Hill last month, which many of them refer to as an “insurrection.”
Trump’s allies, however, accuse the party of hypocrisy, pointing to examples of Democrats using violent political rhetoric.
With 17 Senate Republicans needed to vote along with every Democrat in order to convict Trump, the trial is almost universally expected to end in Trump’s favor. A number of prominent Republicans have also argued that the mere effort to impeach a private citizen is unconstitutional.
Graham said that he hopes “this crap” will be finished by early next week, but suggested that he is prepared to drag the process out.
“All those people you named and then some”
“If the House managers want to call one witness, the defense is going to call all those people you named and then some,” he told Hannity, who had rattled off a list of Democrats he would like to see take the stand.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has also opined that it would only be fair to call on progressive politicos like Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to defend their previous incendiary rhetoric.
Democrats began the trial by making their opening arguments and Trump’s lawyers are set to follow suit. The trial could be completed quickly if no witnesses are called.
Nevertheless, GOP leaders are preparing for a lengthy ordeal, signaling an interest to press Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for objectionable comments, including her exhortation to supporters to harass Trump staffers in public.
Graham is making his denunciation of the impeachment trial crystal clear, asserting: “What Democrats have done is basically declare war on the presidency itself.”