WASHINGTON, D.C. — Before Donald Trump was impeached for a second time Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the efforts to impeach the president will do great damage to governmental institutions and could cause more violence.
Graham, South Carolina's senior senator, released a statement on the impeachment efforts that were being debated in the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon.
The Democrats introduced two resolutions on Monday regarding Trump's actions during a Jan. 6 protest in which some protestors were able to enter the Capitol while the House and Senate were debating Electoral College vote certification.
One resolution called for Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump's powers. This resolution was passed by the House on Tuesday evening, but Pence refused the formal request.
The other resolution called for Trump's impeachment on a charge of incitement of insurrection. This resolution was approved by the House on Wednesday afternoon.
A second impeachment trial would happen in the Senate. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said last week that the earliest a Senate trial could happen was Jan. 19, the day before president-elect Joe Biden is set to take office. If the impeachment trial were to happen, it would require two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor of impeachment. The Senate is currently split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. Once in office, vice president-elect Kamala Harris will hold the tie-breaking vote.
“Supporting the impeachment of President Trump under these circumstances will do great damage to the institutions of government and could invite further violence at a time the President is calling for calm," Graham said in the statement. "If there was a time for America’s political leaders to bend a knee and ask for God’s counsel and guidance, it is now. The most important thing for leaders to do in times of crisis is to make things better, not worse."
He added that the process for the House effort was an affront to the concept of due process and would further divide the country. He added that Trump has committed to an orderly transfer of power and has encouraged calm and rejected violence.
“The House impeachment process seeks to legitimize a snap impeachment totally void of due process," Graham continued. "No hearings. No witnesses. It is a rushed process that, over time, will become a threat to future presidents. As to Senate leadership, I fear they are making the problem worse, not better."
He added that the impeachment of a president due to leave office in a week was the last thing the country needed.
“Democrats have already impeached the President once over a matter which was not worthy of that process," Graham continued. "Now they seek to do it again, believing that this effort will wash for history the fact that the first impeachment was based on the thinnest of pretenses: a phone call with the leader of Ukraine. Impeachment should never be a ‘do-over,’ but that is what Democrats are seeking to do today."
Graham added that Republicans voting for impeachment would be doing great damage to the country, the future of the presidency and the Republican Party.
“The millions who have supported President Trump and his agenda should not be demonized because of the despicable actions of a seditious mob," Graham said. "The individuals who participated in the storming of the Capitol should be met with the full force of the law. They should and will be held accountable.”
Tim Scott, South Carolina's junior senator, said on Monday that he opposed the impeachment process. He said the the efforts would only lead to more hate and a more divided country.