Impeaching President Trump is a foregone conclusion. There are 197 Republicans and 233 Democrats in the House, who vote in lockstep and take orders from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Convicting the president in the Senate and removing him from office is nearly the opposite: Democrats and independents add up to just 47 in the chamber, so they’ll need 20 votes from the 53 Republicans to get to the two-thirds majority needed.
But things might never even get that far, at least according to Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“I consider any impeachment in the House that doesn’t allow us to know who the whistleblower is to be invalid because, without the whistleblower complaint, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this,” Graham said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.
“If they don’t call the whistleblower in the House, this thing is dead on arrival in the Senate,” the South Carolina Republican said.
Bartiromo asked Graham about the witnesses that will be called during the coming impeachment inquiry in the House. Democrats will have control over who gets called and can reject witnesses Republicans may seek to bring in to testify.
“You’ve said on the program not too long ago that Hunter Biden needs to answer questions, what is your reaction to this list that your colleagues in the House have prepared as far as those they would like to hear from?” she asked.
“They could care less about getting to the truth, what really did happen, why was the prosecutor fired, the John Solomon FOIA request is stunning, you can see efforts in the State Department where they were worried about the conflict of interest between Hunter Biden and the company being investigated,” Graham said.
“And I also see the need for Hunter Biden to be called to adequately defend the president and if you don’t do those two things it’s a complete joke,” he added.
Hunter Biden reportedly pulled in about $850,000 as a board member of Burisma Holdings, a Ukraine natural gas company, while his father was vice president. He also hauled in cash from China, where he was part of a $1.5 billion deal with an investment firm with ties to the government in Beijing.
Joe Biden bragged last year that he had threatened to cut off $1 billion in aid to Ukraine unless officials there fired its top prosecutor, who was probing the activities of Burisma.
House Democrats, though, say there’s no need to call Hunter.
“Almost everyone who has looked at [the allegations] says there’s nothing there,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “This is a smokescreen. This is a distraction to distract from very real evidence of [Trump’s] abuse of power and putting our national security at risk. They want to distract all of us from what this president has done.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has moved to exclude the whistleblower, even though their identity has been swirling around in Washington for weeks.
Graham said that would be a big mistake.
“It’s impossible to bring this case forward in my view fairly without us knowing who the whistleblower is and having a chance to cross examine them about any advice they may have, if they don’t call the whistleblower in the House, this thing is dead on arrival on the Senate,” he said.