Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) responded to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) decision to try to dictate the parameters of an inevitable impeachment trial in the Senate Tuesday night, posting on social media that Republicans “won’t be pushed around” on how the trial will proceed and that the Senate GOP doesn’t “need a lecture from Democrats” on how the Constitution works.
On Monday, Schumer sent a three page letter to GOP Senate leadership demanding to control President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial and demanding the right to call witnesses — including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security advisor John Bolton — and the right to dictate the trial calendar, setting the start of trial as early as January 9th so that Democrat Senators competing for the 2020 nomination can be back on the campaign trail by Super Tuesday.
Schumer attacked Graham specifically, taunting Graham for working with the White House to handle the Senate impeachment defense: “What Lindsey Graham said speaks not of the fairness of the trial or the facts, it speaks of him and it demeans him and it will not go down as a great moment for Lindsey Graham,” Schumer told CNN.
Graham fired back at Schumer late Monday, wiping the floor with the Senate Minority Leader.
“The House impeachment Articles are based on hearsay. They also never provided President Trump the opportunity to confront his accuser or meaningful Due Process,” Graham tweeted. “I don’t need a lecture from Democrats on the Constitution after this House debacle, which is being fully embraced by the Senate Democratic leadership.”
“The best thing I can do for the Constitution is to treat the House impeachment process with Constitutional disdain,” he went on. “Legitimizing this House impeachment effort politically weaponizes impeachment and demeans the Constitution.”
Schumer, of course, has little control over at least one of his demands; the Senate must vote on whether or not to allow witnesses at Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. But the GOP, at least, has a plan if Schumer manages to court the votes necessary to force a full trial with witness testimony: they’ll call a handful of witnesses that Democrats won’t be interested in hearing from, including former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
“If it turns out Democrats want to call a bunch of witnesses, we’ll call Hunter Biden. I mean, we can do a tit for tat,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told Fox News Monday evening.
In fact, Republicans are likely to request at least three additional witnesses, if their pleas to House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) are any indication. In that letter, sent last month, Republicans requested Hunter Biden be forced to testify, but also board members from Burisma, the oil and gas company that placed Hunter Biden on their board, possibly under pressure from former Vice President Joe Biden, a handful of senior officials from the Democratic National Committeee who may have worked with Ukrainian officials on setting up DNC servers there, and the original whistleblower who brought concerns over President Donald Trump’s relationship with Ukraine to the forefront, originally.