Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to denounce the House’s second impeachment push against President Trump as “unconstitutional.”
Graham made his call to the GOP leader in an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday night. Graham said that McConnell needed to “stand up and fight back” against the Democrat-led push to oust Trump from office even as Trump is set to leave the White House on Wednesday as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president.
“What we need right now is Sen. McConnell to unequivocally say the second impeachment of Donald Trump after he leaves office is not only unconstitutional, it is bad for the country,” Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “Stand up and fight back.”
Graham, who currently chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, emphasized that unless the GOP stands together against the impeachment push, the country and the Republican Party may fracture.
“Our country needs to heal,” he continued. “A second impeachment of Donald Trump after he leaves office won’t heal the country, it will further divide the country.”
“As to the Republican Party, if we throw in the towel, or are perceived to having thrown in the towel, and not fighting against this impeachment, the Republican Party, as Rand Paul said, will ‘crack up,’” Graham said.
The House voted to impeach Trump for a second time last week, passing an article that accused the president of inciting rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Trump will have left the White House before the Senate can hold trial over the impeachment article, leaving questions over whether the upper chamber can legally convict a president after he has already left office.
McConnell rebuked the president during a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, claiming that Trump and others “provoked” the crowd that later stormed the Capitol building through “lies” about the election.
“The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people,” McConnell said. “And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
“But we pressed on. We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation, not even for one night. We certified the people’s choice for their 46th president,” he added.
Trump addressed supporters at a rally before the riot, insisting that the election was “stolen” and calling on Republican lawmakers to object to the certification of the presidential election for Biden. Trump urged his supporters to “peacefully” march to the Capitol and protest.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol — and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump told the crowd. “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
“We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated. Lawfully slated,” he continued.
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Trump said. “Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections.”