Lindsey Graham's view on impeachment witnesses has been contradicted by himself

Greg Evans
Monday 20 January 2020 12:00
news

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump is due to begin in the Senate on Tuesday and things in the US capital are beginning to heat up.

Over the past week, there has been a lot of discussions about which witnesses will be called to the stand to share what they know about Trump's dealings in Ukraine.

Potential witnesses could be Lev Parnas, John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, Michael Duffey and Rob Blair but for Republican senator Lindsey Graham would rather not see anyone testify.

Although the feeling is that the impeachment might be quickly thrown out of the Senate, due to it having a Republican majority, but there have been suggestions that a small contingent of Republicans could be open to new witnesses which Graham has counteracted by calling for witnesses such as Hunter Biden to appear, as reported by Fox News.

Speaking to Fox's Martha MacCallum on Friday, Graham said:

If you want a witness then do what Ted Cruz said. Everybody gets witnesses. If you want to turn the trail into a complete circus then you are allowed to do that but not with my vote.

However, this would appear to be a sharp reversal in opinion for the South Carolina senator as just over 20 years ago he had a very different view on witnesses appearing at impeachment trials.

In an unearthed clip from the Bill Clinton impeachment trial in 1999 when he was a Republican House impeachment manager. He said:

Why do you need a witness? The whole point that we're trying to make is that in every trail that there has ever been in the Senate regarding impeachment witness were called. 

The big problem I have, if we don't get to call meaningful witnesses, direct witnesses to the point, is that you're basically changing impeachment. Impeachment in the house is not the trial. 

You can have three days of lawyers talking to each other on both sides, sixteen hours of questions and basically bore everybody to death, but when you have a witness, who was there, who was engaged in it, who was in the middle of it telling you about what they were doing and why, it's a totally different case and it's the difference between getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I'm just asking every Senator to vote with your conscience but make sure when it's over that we have a meaningful trial and we don't change the law of impeachment because of the political moment. 

This remarkable footage which now looks completely contradictory in modern terms has gone viral again and has even been played on US national news as a contrast to his recent statement.

In an astonishing turn of events, Graham appeared on Fox News for an interview with anchor Chris Wallace and was presented with this footage.

Wallace asked Graham:

Why were witnesses OK then but they are over-the-line now?

In reply, Graham said:

There may be some conflict that has to be resolved by presenting live witnesses. That's what happens every day in court and I think the Senate can stand that.

The people being asked for by Senator Schumer are the Secretary of State, the Chief of Staff to the president of the United States, the national security adviser to the president of the United States and the acting OMB director. 

All these witnesses were available to the House, the president has said that he would claim executive privilege. Here's what's happened:

In the house, they did this in 48 days, they never allowed the president to exercise executive privilege and when he suggested that he might they impeached him for obstructing Congress. 

Clearly, to me, any president would ask for executive privilege regarding these witnesses and if they were that important why didn't you call them in the house?

More: Trump Jr swamped by impeachment jokes after asking people to name a 'Democrat accomplishment'​

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