- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2019

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham ramped up his defense of President Trump on Thursday, introducing a resolution urging the House to authorize their impeachment inquiry with a vote.

At a press conference, he warned that spearheading impeachment through the House Intelligence Committee rather than the House Judiciary Committee sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents.

“If we were doing this you’d be beating the sh— out of us,” he told reporters. “What I am saying is there is a right way to do and a wrong way to do it. And this is a dangerous way to do it.”

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He said his resolution has 41 Republican cosponsors and counting.

Mr. Graham compared this process to the Clinton impeachment, which he played a substantial role in, and said President Clinton enjoyed far more rights and was allowed to participate in the process.

He said it was unfair for Mr. Trump — and his poll numbers — for the public to only learn about the closed-door depositions through a handful of leaks that only provide a sliver of information, despite the testimonies lasting sometimes more than 9 hours.

Mr. Graham also pushed back on criticism and accusations of hypocrisy from Republicans, who held closed-door sessions during the Benghazi hearings and part of the Clinton impeachment.

He acknowledged that more than 45 Republicans have access to the closed-door proceedings, but said they still feel the process is rigged against them.

“Some were behind closed doors but the inquiry itself became very public. We had the Starr hearing at the start of it,” he said. “The president was involved in a very meaningful way.”

However, Mr. Graham did find a lesson for Mr. Trump in the Clinton impeachment — put together a team to focus on impeachment while the president continues to work.

“Clinton defended himself but he never stopped being president,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the idea of holding a full House vote last week, despite the White House refusing to cooperate otherwise.

“We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth [and] to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us,” she said at the time.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has vowed to release the transcripts of all the closed-door sessions and to hold public hearings at a later date.

Mr. Graham’s remarks came after he met with Mr. Trump for a lunch at the White House where they discussed both Syria and the impeachment inquiry.

“He keeps telling us did nothing wrong,” Mr. Graham said. “He feels like it never stops… He thought it would be over with Mueller.”

“I’m not here to tell you Donald Trump has done nothing wrong. I’m not here to tell you anything other than that the way they’re going about it is really dangerous for the country and we need to change course,” he added.

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