Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he won’t support the impeachment of President Donald Trump with just more than a week to go.
“If Speaker Pelosi pushed impeachment in the last days of the Trump presidency, it will do more harm than good. I’m hopeful President-elect Biden sees the damage that would be done from such action,” he said, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Graham stated that Pelosi was “hanging by a political thread” and noted that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) “lives in fear of primary from the radical left.” Graham was referring to statements made by socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that suggested she would not rule out a run against Schumer for his seat.
“Any attempt to impeach President Trump would not only be unsuccessful in the Senate but would be a dangerous precedent for the future of the presidency,” Graham, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, added.
Graham also remarked on the speculative and anonymously sourced reports that Trump could be removed via the 25th Amendment.
The Republican senator chided Trump for his allegations about election fraud and irregularities during the Nov. 3 election.
But, he remarked, “As to the 25th Amendment being invoked, I do not believe that’s appropriate at this point. I’m looking for a peaceful transfer of power. I’m looking for the next 14 days to reset. And we will hand off power in a traditional sense by it being a peaceful transfer.”
“If something else happens all options will be on the table,” he said.
For his part, Trump on Twitter condemned the U.S. Capitol breach and noted, “Now, tempers must be cooled, and calm restored.” The president said he pursued “every legal avenue” to “ensure the integrity of the vote … to defend American democracy.”
Before the Capitol breach and protests, Trump called on supporters at the rally to remain peaceful and not attack the U.S. Capitol Police. After that, the president released a video message calling on the demonstrators to “go home in peace” before it was deleted by Facebook and Twitter.
In an attempt to bolster her claims to support impeachment, Pelosi issued a letter to members of Congress this week about her plans to impeach.
“Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office–immediately,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues. “If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action.”
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the No. 3 House Democrat, said he could confirm that “we have had discussions about it and I would hope that the speaker would move forward if the vice president refuses to do what he is required to do under the Constitution.”
Impeachment in the House requires a simple majority, while a conviction requires a two-thirds majority.
The Associated Press contributed to this report