Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a close ally of President Donald Trump, said he will do everything in his power to quickly end an expected impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate.
“This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly,” the South Carolina Republican said Saturday during an interview with CNN International’s Becky Anderson at the Doha Forum in Qatar.
The House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved two articles of impeachment against the President, paving the way for a final vote on the House floor expected next week. That will set up the Senate trial, for which lawmakers are now gearing up.
Asked if it was appropriate for him to be voicing his opinion before impeachment reaches the Senate, Graham replied, “Well, I must think so because I’m doing it.”
“I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here,” Graham said, adding, “What I see coming, happening today is just a partisan nonsense.”
In his opening remarks at the forum, Graham predicted the impeachment process would be over around mid-January.
“Personally I think President Trump will come out of this stronger and the good news is that everybody in politics in America needs to prove to the American public we’re not all completely crazy. So there may be a spirit of compromise coming post-impeachment, born of political necessity, if anything else,” Graham said.
Anderson also asked Graham if it was appropriate for Trump to ask foreign governments for such help as when the President asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company.
“Now, Joe Biden is a dear friend. I’ve traveled all over the world with Joe Biden. He’s running for president on the Democratic side. I think he’ll do very well. The bottom line is his son was receiving $50,000 a month from a gas company run by the most corrupt guy in the Ukraine and about two months after they raided the gas company’s president’s home, they fired the prosecutor,” Graham told Anderson. “Yeah, I think it’s OK to talk about this kind of stuff.”
There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.
Graham said he does not wish to hear from the Bidens or any other witnesses. “I want to hear the House make their case based on the record they established in the House and I want to vote,” he said.
He said he wants impeachment to end “for the good of the country,” adding: “I think the best thing for America to do is get this behind us.”
“If you don’t like President Trump, you can vote against him in less than a year. It’s not like a politician is unaccountable if you don’t impeach them. So I think impeachment is going to end quickly in the Senate. I would prefer it to end as quickly as possible,” Graham said.
A recent defender of the President, Graham was asked about his previous attacks against Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, including calling Trump a “race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.”
“I said all of those things. Clearly, I wasn’t a fan of his campaign, right?” Graham said Saturday. “But here’s the way it has to work. When you lose, accept it. The American people didn’t believe that. They made him their president.”
The House next week will consider two charges against Trump. The first article of impeachment accuses Trump of abusing his power by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting while pressuring Ukraine’s President to investigate a potential political rival. The second accuses Trump of obstructing Congress by thwarting the House’s investigative efforts.
Trump’s senior aides have restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to the President’s phone calls with foreign leaders since his July 25 call with Zelensky was revealed and became the centerpiece of the impeachment inquiry, multiple White House sources confirmed to CNN.
Transcripts of Trump’s calls with world leaders are also disseminated to a far smaller group of people inside the White House, those administration sources say, continuing an effort to limit the number of people with insight and information about the conversations.
CNN’s Kevin Bohn, Clare Foran, Alex Marquardt, Zachary Cohen and Pamela Brown contributed to this report.