Graham Says ‘Abuse of Power’ Allegations Could Damage Office of Presidency

January 19, 2020 Updated: January 20, 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the abuse of power impeachment charges by House Democrats against President Donald Trump would cause significant problems for future presidents.

“Abuse of power is so poorly defined here I don’t know presidents in the future can confirm their conduct,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s the first impeachment in modern history without outside counsel… they had to do it in such a hurry he could not exercise executive privilege,” he added.

“Any president has the right to defend the office,” Graham said, referring to the second article alleging that Trump obstructed Congress amid House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. He said that while Democrats have argued that Trump isn’t above the law, they have “tried to put Trump below the law.”

Later in the interview, he remarked that there is a Supreme Court case that says during matters of national security, “the privilege of the president is at its highest,” adding that the Democrats’ case, if successful, would thwart the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches.

“I want this trial to get over with as quickly as possible,” Graham said, adding that he wants the American people to “pick their next president” in 2020.

Graham was responding to a move on Saturday by House Democrats, who underlined their assertion that President Trump abused his office and should be removed.

“The evidence overwhelmingly establishes that he is guilty of both,” House Democrats said in a trial brief Saturday.

Democrats have alleged Trump abused his power by withholding hundreds of millions of security aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Burisma Holdings—the company that featured Hunter Biden as a board member. Both Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have denied there was any pressure campaign waged by the White House to secure investigations. Trump also released to the public a transcript of the call.

On Thursday, the Senate swore-in Chief Justice John Roberts, who in turn, swore-in all 100 senators and asked them to take an oath as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the trial will properly begin on Tuesday.