As the Senate gears up for the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump to begin, Sen Lindsey Graham has said that, in light of new evidence, his original plan for dismissal of the charges before a trial is now DOA, but he has renewed his call to begin quickly, and end the trail as soon as possible.
The Senate trial is set to begin Tuesday. Graham had previously floated the idea that the GOP majority could immediately vote to dismiss the case before hearing any arguments, but now he states that this does not appear to be a possibility given the lack of sufficient Republican support for such action.
“Yeah that’s dead for practical purposes,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday,” explaining, “the idea of dismissing the case early on is not going to happen; we don’t have the votes for that.”
Graham remains confident that Republicans are still united enough to acquit Trump at the conclusion of the trial. How long the trial goes on, is still up in the air. Graham would neither confirm nor deny reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans on keeping the Senate in session for 12 hours a day, so that House Democrats would be done presenting their arguments Wednesday.
In addition to presenting their arguments, House Democrats want to call witnesses such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who did not testify during the House’s impeachment inquiry due to Trump’s claim of executive privilege. Bolton originally indicated he would comply with a Senate subpoena, but more recently has said he “volunteers” to testify before the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has thus far been adamant about either no witnesses, or, if he concedes to the Democrat’s requests for witnesses such as Bolton, then would reserve the right for the GOP to call Hunter and/or Joe Biden. The Democrats have said that calling the Bidens has no relevance to the charges levied against the president, and to have them, would turn the trial into a “circus of distraction.”
Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are among a small group of Republicans who have yet to completely shut the door on new witnesses, wanting to hear arguments first. Democrats would need them and at least one more in order to be able to call witnesses, but Graham warned that if they get their wish, the GOP will look to call defense witnesses such as Hunter Biden.
“If we call one witness, we’re going to call all the witnesses,” Graham said.
Personally, Graham said he would rather look into Hunter Biden’s dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings outside of the context of the impeachment trial, and would rather not have any witnesses called during the trial from either side.
“The sooner this is over the better,” he said.