Senate Republicans back resolution condemning impeachment inquiry

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Washington — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution co-sponsored by more than three dozen of his colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, condemning the House for a lack of transparency in the impeachment inquiry.

“Every American should be disturbed by what is taking place in the House of Representatives regarding the attempt to impeach President Trump,” Graham said in a release. He told reporters in a press conference that the resolution is a “strong signal to our House colleagues” that “they’re off-script.”

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The measure, which Graham’s office said has 39 co-sponsors, calls on Democrats in the House to hold a formal vote to initiate an impeachment inquiry, allow the president to call witnesses in his defense and give Republicans in the House minority the ability to issue subpoenas.

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“It is imperative the President be able to confront his accuser, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment,” Graham said in his statement. “We cannot have a country where every American has rights except Donald Trump. I find the current process illegitimate and dangerous to the future of the presidency.”

McConnell said in a statement that “House Democrats are even denying their own Republican colleagues basic procedural rights that the minority party was granted throughout previous impeachments.”

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Graham accused Democrats of “selectively leaking information” from the closed depositions to reporters. He also accused reporters of being unfair towards Republicans, saying that if Republicans were leaking information about an investigation regarding a Democrat, they would be criticized by the press.

“What I am saying is there is a right way to do it, and a wrong way to do it, and this is a dangerous way to do it,” Graham said.

Graham also spoke about his lunch Thursday afternoon with President Trump and several other Republican senators

“He would like the process to be exposed for being basically unfair,” Graham said about Mr. Trump, adding that the president feels he has been persecuted since taking office.

Graham’s announcement of the resolution comes one day after House Republicans stormed the secure briefing room where depositions were being held in protest of the closed hearings.

Also on Wednesday, the top Republicans on the House committees pursuing the inquiry demanded the public testimony of the whistleblower who reported concerns about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, as well as other officials referenced in the individual’s complaint.

Democrats have dismissed the idea of holding a formal vote on opening an inquiry, which is not required under the Constitution. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has said Democrats will eventually hold public testimony and release transcripts of closed-door proceedings.