Lindsey Graham parrots himself by again saying he’ll shoot ‘gangs’ with his AR-15 in the event of a ‘natural disaster’

Lindsey Graham shooting
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham uses images of handguns and rifles during a hearing about gun control on Capitol Hill January 30, 2013 in Washington, DC.

  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News he’d use his AR-15 to keep himself safe during a natural disaster.
  • Graham made the statement while arguing against a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
  • He last made this claim in 2019, saying he would “defend himself” during “apocalyptic scenarios.”
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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has once again claimed that he would use his AR-15 to shoot gangs in the event of a natural disaster or a state of apocalyptic lawlessness.

“I own an AR-15. If there’s a natural disaster in South Carolina where the cops can’t protect my neighborhood, my house will be the last one that the gang will come to, because I can defend myself,” Graham said.

Graham added that he thought most of the problems with semi-automatic weapons and gun violence had to do not with easily obtainable firearms but with “mental health.”

The South Carolina lawmaker was responding to questions on Fox News about his stance on semi-automatic weapons and whether they should be banned.

This is not the first time that Graham has made this claim.

In 2019, Insider reported that Graham said aboard Air Force One that he owned a semiautomatic rifle in case “there’s a hurricane, a natural disaster, no power, no cops, no anything,” and that gangs and looters would know not “to come to the AR-15 home.”

During the interview, Graham also challenged majority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer to bring the assault weapons ban to the Senate floor, saying that it would not “get 50 votes, much less 60.”

Graham also told the Washington Examiner last week that he believed the Senate would vote against any limitations imposed on purchasing and owning assault weapons, saying: “I want a vote on an assault weapons ban. I own an AR-15. Now, why do I own it? Because I have the right to own it, and I choose to own it.”

Graham has been a long-time supporter of the Second Amendment. In 2013, for instance, he tweeted a photo of himself at a gun range in South Carolina using his AR-15.

A wave of mass shootings in the last two weeks has sparked renewed interest in the gun-control debate. Ten people – including a police officer – were killed in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on March 22. Separately, a series of mass shootings at three spas in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16 ended in the deaths of eight people, including six Asian women.

President Joe Biden called on Congress last week to strengthen gun control, adding that he might take a stronger stand on assault weapons.

“As president, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep people safe,” Biden said in a televised address on Mar 24.

“The United States Senate should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that would close loopholes in the background check system,” he said.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.”

However, gun reform faces obstacles in the form of the Senate filibuster.

Two gun bills have already made it through the House, but they are unlikely to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50.

However, Democrats and activists are pushing to eliminate the filibuster and make it possible to pass legislation at a simple 51-vote majority, particularly in light of these back-to-back mass shootings.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham says preventing voters from receiving food or water while as they wait in line to cast ballots doesn’t make ‘a whole lot of sense’

lindsey graham
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the new Republican-backed law in Georgia that places heavy restrictions on voting doesn’t make “sense.”

A provision of a new law signed last week by Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp puts stricter requirements on providing identification for voters casting absentee ballots, limits the number of drop boxes for ballots, gives state officials more power over how elections are run, and bars volunteers from giving food and water to people waiting in line to vote.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday” anchor, Chris Wallace asked Graham: “Senator, why on Earth, if Americans are willing to wait for hours to vote would you make it a crime for people to come and give them a bottle of water?

“Well, all I can say is that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” the South Carolina Republican responded. “I agree with you there.”

As Insider’s Grace Panetta reported, Section 33 of SB202 says, “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector, nor shall any person solicit signatures for any petition, nor shall any person, other than election officials discharging their duties, establish or set up any tables or booths on any day in which ballots are being cast.”

The law was met with criticism from Democrats including President Joe Biden, who referred to the new voting law as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”

In 2020, Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since 1991. Democrats in the state saw another major victory when they won Georgia’s Senate runoff elections in January.

When asked about Republican voting restrictions and shown a clip of Biden calling those efforts “sick,” and “un-American,” Graham said that Biden used the “race card.”

“You know what’s sick is for the president of the United States to play the race card, continuously, in such a hypocritical way,” Graham said.

He added: “Every time a Republican does anything we’re a racist. If you’re a white conservative you’re a racist. If you’re a Black Republican, you’re either a prop or Uncle Tom. They use the racism card to advance a liberal agenda and we’re tired of it.

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Republicans are recycling Trump’s fear-mongering about terrorists entering the US through Mexico

immigration
Deportees walk across a U.S.-Mexico border bridge from Texas into Mexico on February 25, 2021 in Matamoros, Mexico.

  • Republicans have been portraying a surge in migrants at the border as a potential terror threat.
  • Trump also sought to tie illegal immigration to terrorism, despite little to no evidence.
  • The threat of terrorism in the US is largely homegrown, according to research and law enforcement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As record numbers of unaccompanied minors turn up at southern border, congressional Republicans are echoing dubious claims from former President Donald Trump about terrorists attempting to cross into the US from Mexico.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday told reporters that border agents he met on a trip to Texas claimed suspected terrorists are attempting to cross the border. McCarthy provided no evidence to back up this incendiary assertion.

“You saw it in their eyes,” the California Republican said of the agents. “They talked about, ‘They’re on the list.’ … The terrorist watch list.”

“We asked them what countries are people coming from,” McCarthy said. “Yemen, Iran, Sri Lanka – that’s what’s coming across. They even talked about Chinese, as well.”

GOP Rep. John Katko of New York, who joined McCarthy for the border visit, also spoke with reporters on Monday.

“People they’ve caught in the last few days … have been on the terror watch lists,” he said. “Individuals that they have on the watch list for terrorism are now starting to exploit the Southern border.”

In February, 11 Iranian nationals were arrested in Arizona after illegally crossing the border. But Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not publicly reported any recent arrests of suspected terrorists at the US-Mexico border to back up the statements from McCarthy and Katko.

On Tuesday, Axios reported CBP told members of Congress four people arrested at the southern border since October match names on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database. Three were reportedly from Yemen and one from Serbia.

CBP did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

The FBI’s terror watch list has been criticized as unfairly stigmatizing and arbitrary by civil liberties groups like the ACLU and was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2019.

Democrats on McCarthy’s terrorism comments: ‘Either wrong or lying’

Democrats have responded to McCarthy’s assertions with skepticism.

“Weird as the Chairman of the subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations and a border state member of Congress haven’t heard anything about this,” Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona tweeted. “Gonna ask for a briefing.”

Gallego said he’s “pretty sure” McCarthy is “either wrong or lying.”

Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose district includes El Paso, accused McCarthy of “fueling” xenophobia with his comments.

This is part of Trump’s playbook

In the past, Trump made unsubstantiated claims about terrorists from the Middle East crossing the border.

“We have terrorists coming through the southern border because they find that’s probably the easiest place to come through. They drive right in and they make a left,” Trump said in January 2019.

But a September 2018 report from the State Department contradicted Trump. The report, released during Trump’s second year as president, said there’s “no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.”

“The U.S. southern border remains vulnerable to potential terrorist transit, although terrorist groups likely seek other means of trying to enter the United States,” the report added.

Republicans are trying to breed fear via imaginary dangers while ignoring actual threats

Despite the lack of evidence to support the notion that illegal immigration opens the door for terrorism in the US in a major way, top Republicans have consistently pushed this groundless talking point.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and close ally of Trump’s, in comments to Fox News in early March baselessly suggested that undocumented migrant children could become “terrorists.”

But every lethal jihadist terror attack in the US since 9/11 was carried out by a legal resident or citizen, except in one instance involving someone in the US as part of a US-Saudi military training partnership, according to an analysis from the New America think tank.

Indeed, the threat of terrorism in the US is largely homegrown and primarily emanates from far-right extremist groups. The problem came to the forefront of the country’s attention via the Capitol attack on January 6, which subsequently led more National Guard troops to be stationed in the nation’s capital for President Joe Biden’s inauguration than the total number of US troops currently in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

In testimony to the Senate on March 2, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers “when it comes to racially motivated violent extremism” the number of investigations and arrests “has grown significantly on my watch.”

Correspondingly, a Homeland Security report released in October 2020 pointed to white supremacists as “the most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland.”

But Republicans in Congress have consistently downplayed or ignored the threat of far-right extremism.

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Lindsey Graham said he deals with Trump’s ‘dark side’ because he thinks he has a ‘magic’ other Republicans don’t

lindsey graham
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Axios on HBO” that he still thinks Donald Trump is good for the GOP.
  • Graham said Trump has a “dark side,” but also a “magic” that other Republicans don’t.
  • He said Trump can make the GOP stronger and more diverse, but that he “also could destroy it.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In an interview with “Axios on HBO” that aired on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said former President Donald Trump has both a “dark side” and a “magic” that other Republicans don’t.

The South Carolina senator became a close ally of the president during his four years in office but doesn’t always follow Trump the way some of his loyalists do. While he opposed impeachment after the Capitol riot, Graham said Trump “needs to understand that his actions were the problem.”

When Axios’s Jonathan Swan asked Graham why he still supports Trump, the senator said he still believes Trump’s movement is good for the country.

“Mitt Romney didn’t do it, John McCain didn’t do it – there’s something about Trump. There’s a dark side and there’s some magic there,” Graham said. “What I’m trying to do is just harness the magic.”

 

Since the siege of the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, some congressional Republicans have been divided over how the party should move forward. While the vast majority voted against impeachment, 10 representatives voted to impeach and seven senators voted to convict Trump.

Yet Graham told Axios that he thinks the best way for the Republican party to move forward with its agenda is “with Trump, not without Trump.”

“He could make the Republican party something that nobody else I know could make it,” Graham said. “He could make it bigger, he could make it stronger, he could make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it.”

Graham told reporters last month he was meeting with Trump to discuss the future of the Republican party. He said he wanted to convince Trump to help Republicans take back Congressional majorities in 2022, but that they would need the party to be united.

“If it’s about revenge and going after people you don’t like, we’re going to have a problem,” Graham said he would say to Trump.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, Trump called out the Republicans who voted for his impeachment by name, prompting boos from the crowd.

Trump also told Politico on Saturday that he would be traveling to Alaska to campaign against GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict him, calling her “disloyal” and “very bad.”

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Lindsey Graham calls Lara Trump ‘the biggest winner’ in father-in-law second impeachment trial

lindsey graham
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) takes his mask off as he arrives at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on January 7, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested that Lara Trump could be the nominee to run for Sen. Richard Burr’s seat.
  • Burr of North Carolina will not run for re-election in 2022. 
  • Burr has faced backlash from his party for voting to convict Trump in the impeachment trial. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called former president Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, the “biggest winner” of the former president’s second impeachment trial in an interview Sunday. 

“The biggest winner, I think, of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” the GOP Trump ally said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

He continued: “My dear friend Richard Burr, who I like and have been friends to a long time, just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs. And I certainly will be behind her because she represents the future of the Republican Party.”

Insider previously reported that Lara, who is married to Eric Trump, was considering running for Senate in North Carolina for the midterm elections in 2022. 

 

During the impeachment trial, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr was one of the few Republicans who voted in favor to convict Trump on the charges associated with the Jan. 6 US Capitol riot.

Burr, who is slated to retire and not run for re-election, was widely criticized by his party for his unpredictable decision.

Trump was acquitted on insurrection charges by the Senate on Saturday. 

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Lindsey Graham says Trump is ‘mad at some folks’ over impeachment trial but is ‘ready to move on’

trump leaving white house final time
Outgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House on January 20, 2021.

  • Lindsey Graham said that Trump is “ready to move on” after his impeachment acquittal.
  • Graham conceded that Trump was still “mad at some folks.”
  • Graham said that McConnell’s Saturday speech condemning Trump’s actions could hurt the GOP in 2022.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top ally of former President Donald Trump, said on Sunday that Trump is “ready to move on” after the Senate voted to acquit the former president in his second impeachment trial.

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” the South Carolina Republican told host Chris Wallace that Trump “was grateful to his lawyers” and “he appreciated the help that all of us have provided.”

Graham added: “He’s ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party. He’s excited about 2022. I’m going to go down to talk with him next week, play a little golf in Florida. And I said Mr. President, this MAGA [Make America Great Again] movement needs to continue.”

The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” fell short by a 57-43 margin. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate or 67 votes.

Read more: Meet the little-known power player with the ‘hardest job’ on Capitol Hill. She’s shaping Trump’s impeachment trial and Joe Biden’s agenda.

While Trump is basking in escaping yet another impeachment conviction, Graham said that the former president is still “mad at some folks.”

Wallace was then asked if Trump was upset with GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who voted to acquit the former president, while also deeming him as “morally responsible for provoking” the January 6 Capitol riots.

“I think Senator McConnell’s speech, he got a load off his chest, but unfortunately put a load on the back of Republicans,” Graham said. “That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns. I would imagine, if you’re a Republican running in Georgia, Arizona, New Hampshire where we have a chance to take back the Senate, they may be playing Senator McConnell’s speech and asking you about it if you’re a candidate.”

He added: “I think his speech is an outlier regarding how Republicans feel about all this.”

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Graham while criticizing Trump’s impeachment trial: ‘I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House’

Graham Harris
Then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) speak before then-President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on February 5, 2019.

  • Lindsey Graham suggested that Kamala Harris could be impeached by a future GOP-controlled House.
  • “We’ve opened Pandora’s box to future presidents,” he said.
  • Graham voted to acquit the former president in his second impeachment trial.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday suggested that Vice President Kamala Harris could be impeached in a future Republican-controlled House after former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial for “incitement of insurrection.”

During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham harshly criticized the trial record, calling it a “joke,” before pivoting to Harris, a former US senator for California who has been in her new position for less than a month.

Graham, who was one of the 43 Republican senators that voted to acquit the former president, on Saturday said “the case presented to the Senate by the House Managers was based on hearsay after hearsay combined with media reports.”

“We’ve opened Pandora’s box to future presidents,” Graham expressed on Fox News. “If you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House because she actually bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open. We’ve opened Pandora’s box here and I’m sad for the country.”

Read more: Meet the little-known power player with the ‘hardest job’ on Capitol Hill. She’s shaping Trump’s impeachment trial and Joe Biden’s agenda.

Graham is making an unsubstantiated connection between Harris’s support of the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit organization that assists low-income individuals who need money for bail, and the rioting that occurred in the state after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.

After Harris asked her Twitter followers “to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” Trump and Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas tried to conflate peaceful demonstrators fighting for racial justice with those who were actually rioting in the streets.

According to The Washington Post, few of the protesters actually needed assistance from the Minnesota Freedom Fund, and roughly 92 percent of the people charged during the protests weren’t required to post bail.

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McConnell, Graham, and Grassley voted against Bill Clinton in his 1998 impeachment. They just acquitted Trump of inciting an insurrection.

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • The Senate acquitted Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection in his second impeachment trial.
  • Some senators who voted in Trump’s impeachment trial also voted in Clinton’s more than two decades ago.
  • Five current GOP senators who voted to remove Clinton just voted to acquit Trump.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Senate acquitted Donald Trump Saturday in the impeachment trial over his role in inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6. The vote was largely split along party lines, with all 50 Democrats and seven Republicans voting to convict, and 43 Republicans voting to acquit.

Six of the Republicans who voted for acquittal were also sitting senators in 1999, during the impeachment trial of then-president Bill Clinton. Five of them voted to remove Clinton from office:

  • Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
  • Chuck Grassley of Iowa
  • Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
  • Richard Shelby of Alabama
  • Mike Crapo of Idaho

All five voted to convict Clinton of obstruction of justice, while all but Shelby voted to convict him of perjury, or lying under oath. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was also a sitting senator during Clinton’s trial but voted not guilty on both counts. She was among the Republicans who voted to convict Trump.

Read more: Meet the little-known power player with the ‘hardest job’ on Capitol Hill. She’s shaping Trump’s impeachment trial and Joe Biden’s agenda.

The Senate acquittal on Saturday came a month after Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for incitement of insurrection over the Capitol siege, which resulted in multiple deaths and delayed the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Clinton’s impeachment stemmed from his testimony in a sexual harassment case brought on by a woman named Paula Jones, during which he infamously denied having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. An investigation by an independent council ultimately concluded Clinton had committed impeachable offenses in four categories: perjury, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and abuse of power.

The Republican-led House of Representatives brought four articles of impeachment against Clinton in 1998, with two – perjury and obstruction of justice – getting the votes needed to advance to a Senate trial.

Some of the Republicans who were serving in the House then are also senators now.

These are the sitting GOP senators who voted to acquit Trump Saturday, and to impeach Clinton on at least one article when they were members of the House:

  • Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • Jerry Moran of Kansas
  • Rob Portman of Ohio
  • John Thune of South Dakota
  • Roger Wicker of Mississippi

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina was also a representative at the time and voted to impeach Clinton. However, in a surprising vote, he was one of the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump on Saturday.

The latest impeachment trial was Trump’s second. He was first impeached in January 2020 over concerns that he abused his power to interfere in the 2020 election. The House and Senate votes were also along party lines then, with only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, voting to convict.

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Lindsey Graham says he’ll try to convince Trump to help the GOP secure the House and Senate in 2022

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., walks off after speaking to reporters during a news conference at the Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, in Washington. Graham said Thursday that the president must accept his own role in the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham wants Trump to help drum up support for the GOP in the 2022 elections.
  • Graham will meet with Trump to talk about the future of the Republican party.
  • “I’m going to try and convince him that we can’t get there without you,” he told Politico.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to leverage former President Donald Trump’s influence to ensure that the Republican party takes back the House and Senate in 2022. 

In an interview with Politico, Graham said he’ll meet with Trump to discuss the future of the GOP and his role in it.

“I’m going to try and convince him that we can’t get there without you, but you can’t keep the Trump movement going without the GOP united,” Graham said on Friday.

“If we come back in 2022, then, it’s an affirmation of your policies,” he said. “But if we lose again in 2022, the narrative is going to continue that not only you lost the White House, but the Republican Party is in a bad spot.”

In the 2020 elections, Democrats took back the Senate from the House, giving President Joe Biden a Democratic stronghold in Congress. 

In the remaining weeks of his presidency, Trump signaled that he’d stay involved in politics. He had at one point planned to hold a 2024 campaign event ahead of an eventual potential second run at president. 

But support for Trump within the Republican party has dwindled.

The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump a second time in January, just days after the January 6 riot during which insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building. House members impeached him on an “incitement of insurrection” charge.

Ten Republican House members were among those who voted to impeach Trump.

The Senate is set to vote later Saturday on whether to acquit or convict Trump. A conviction requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which means Trump is likely to be acquitted

Most Republican senators have come out ardently against the impeachment proceedings

Graham indicated he’s looking to channel that allyship with Trump into bolstering the GOP in the next mid-term election cycle. 

“Trump’s got to work with everybody,” Graham said. “You got to put your best team on the field. If it’s about revenge and going after people you don’t like, we’re going to have a problem. If this is about putting your best team on the field, we’ve got a decent chance at coming back.”

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Lindsey Graham asked Chuck Schumer, the next Senate majority leader, to dismiss a Trump impeachment trial in the name of ‘national healing’

lindsey graham
  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer in a letter on Sunday to hold a vote in the Senate to dismiss the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
  • Graham, a close ally of the president, briefly broke with the president after the January 6 insurrection, but has since returned to defending him.
  • In the letter to Schumer, Graham argued that if the trial is not dismissed “we will be delaying indefinitely, if not forever, the healing of this great nation.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Sen. Chuck Schumer in a letter on Sunday to hold a Senate vote rejecting the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“The Senate should vote to dismiss the article of impeachment once it is received in the Senate,” Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said in the letter. “We will be delaying indefinitely, if not forever, the healing of this great nation if we do otherwise.”

Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives last week for “incitement of insurrection” over his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, when his supporters tried to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people were left dead.

The Senate is set to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict the president. Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has said that trial will likely not start until after Inauguration Day, by which time Schumer, a Democrat from New York, will be the new majority leader.

Read more: Mitch McConnell is telling GOP senators their decision on a Trump impeachment trial conviction is a ‘vote of conscience’

Graham, a frequent ally of the president, briefly broke from Trump after the Capitol siege and acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden had won the election.

However, in the letter to Schumer, he argued in that the impeachment was “unconstitutional” because Trump will already be out of office when the trial begins.

He also praised Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to heed calls, including from the president, to break from the Constitution by attempting to overturn the election results. Graham compared that decision to Schumer’s.

“But now, in your first act as Majority Leader, rather than begin the national healing that the country so desperately yearns for, you seek vengeance and political retaliation instead,” he said.

Graham also said Senate Republicans “rejected unconstitutional actions,” in regards to the election certification.

“Virtually all of us rejected further challenges to the 2020 election,” he said.

However, in the days before the certification, about a dozen GOP senators said they would object to certifying some electoral college votes, with some only reversing course after the violence at the Capitol had already ensued.

Eight of them ended up objecting, including Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Graham himself also pressured Georgia’s top elections official to throw out largely Democratic mail-in ballots.

Days before the letter to Schumer, Graham spoke out against the impeachment and implied McConnell, who has said he will wait to hear the evidence presented at the trial, is “making the problem worse.”

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