Lindsey Graham Says He Assured Trump of Acquittal After Uneven Start to Senate Trial

February 10, 2021 Updated: February 10, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said former President Donald Trump will be acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial after Trump’s attorneys received criticism among Republicans for their opening arguments.

Graham told reporters on Wednesday that he spoke with Trump about the likely outcome of the trial after his attorneys—Bruce Castor and David Schoen—made their arguments.

“I think his team will do better, can do better,” Graham told reporters. “I reinforced to the president, the case is over. It’s just a matter of getting the final verdict now.”

Forty-four Republican senators, including GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), voted against holding the trial on Tuesday evening, suggesting the Senate will not reach the 67-vote threshold to convict Trump. The president’s attorneys stated that it goes against the Constitution to impeach or try a former office-holder.

Graham, meanwhile, described Trump’s mood after the lawyers made their arguments, saying the former president didn’t appear to be frustrated. Some media outlets, which cited anonymous sources, reported that he was angry over their performance on Tuesday.

“Well, not, no, not particularly,” Graham said on whether he sensed that Trump was frustrated. “We mostly talked about the vote, and I said we had 44 people saying it’s not constitutional.”

Six Republican senators voted in favor of moving the trial, joining all 50 members of the Democratic Senate caucus. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who joined Democrats, said Trump’s attorneys appeared to be “disorganized” and “unfocused.”

“They talked about many things, but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand,” he said. Cassidy’s vote on Tuesday was the first time he joined Democrats.

House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), argued that Trump’s trial is constitutional.

“Conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president, in your second year as president, in your third year as president, and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all,” Raskin said. “This would create a brand new January exception to the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Graham noted that not all Republicans who voted to hold the trial would vote to convict Trump.

“I think the vote for not guilty will probably grow beyond 44,” he said. “I respect Bill. He’s a really good senator. He’s done a great job up here,” he added.

“People are emotional about President Trump,” he noted. “I’m sure Bill will be fine. He will vote his conscience at the end of the day. Let’s just see how he votes when it’s all said and done.”