Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told “Fox News Sunday” that, under the new standard for impeachment, Vice President Kamala Harris could find herself facing an investigation if Republicans retake the House of Representatives in the 2022 mid-year elections.
Speaking on the vote held Saturday, in which all but seven Senate Republicans voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of “inciting an insurrection” per the House Democrats impeachment charge, Graham also worried that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) statements, excoriating Trump for his actions on January 6th ahead of a riot on Capitol Hill, could come back to haunt the GOP.
“I think Sen. McConnell’s speech, he got a load off his chest, obviously, but unfortunately he put a load on the back of Republicans,” Graham told Fox. “That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns.”
“I think his speech is an outlier regarding how Republicans feel about all this,” Graham added.
McConnell called Trump’s decision to address the crowds who amassed for a “Stop the Steal” protest on January 6th, as Congress was deciding on whether to certify the results of the Electoral College vote that declared Joe Biden president, and Trump’s decision not to intervene to try to stop a riot on Capitol Hill that threatened elected leaders including his own Vice President, a “dereliction of duty.”
While McConnell did not agree that the president himself incited the riot as accused, he did note that Trump was “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”
Graham suggested the words could hurt Republican chances at comebacks in states that recently turned “blue,” like Arizona and Georgia.
“I would imagine if you’re a Republican running in Arizona or Georgia or New Hampshire, where we have a chance to take back the Senate, they may be playing Sen. McConnell’s speech and asking you about it as a candidate,” Graham said. “And I imagine if you’re an incumbent Republican there are going to be people asking you if will you support Sen. McConnell in the future.”
Graham, though, also had a warning for Democrats who pursued impeachment over select snippets of the president’s speech on the theory that Trump “incited” violence by urging his supporters to “fight.”
That standard, Graham warned, puts Vice President Kamala Harris, who tweeted in support of the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which posted bail for a number of rioters in Minneapolis, in danger of impeachment.
“I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House, because she actually bailed out rioters, and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open,” Graham said. “So we’ve opened Pandora’s box here, and I’m sad for the country.”
Trump’s defense team made a similar argument on Friday, during their opening statements, showing footage of Democratic leaders, including Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and even Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) using language similar to that used by Trump in his speech to protesters on January 6th. Trump’s lawyers contended not just that Trump did not meet the standard for “inciting” violence, but that his rhetoric was commonplace in politics.
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