Graham: It's 'outrageous' to say we blocked witnesses after we blocked witnesses

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blamed the House of Representatives for the fact that Republican senators voted to block witness testimony from the impeachment trial.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who voted to block subpoenas for witness testimony in Donald Trump's impeachment trial, said on Thursday that he considers it "insane," ridiculous," and "outrageous" to accuse Republicans of blocking witnesses.

"Of all the insane things being said about this impeachment debacle — and there is a lot to choose from — one of the most ridiculous is to say Senate Republicans are 'Blocking Witnesses,'" Graham wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. "This is an outrageous claim."

On Jan. 22, Graham joined his Republican colleagues in the Senate to vote 11 times to reject an attempt by Democratic senators to allow witnesses and documents to be a part of the impeachment trial. Graham voted against subpoenaing testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, among others.

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On Thursday, Graham blamed the House of Representatives, "who refused to pursue the testimony of the witnesses," for his refusal to hear from additional witnesses. Graham alleged House members rushed the impeachment process in order to impeach Trump before Christmas 2019, insinuating it was their responsibility to hear from witnesses like Bolton.

In fact, House of Representatives invited Bolton to testify during the impeachment investigation in November, but Bolton refused to do so voluntarily. In January, Bolton changed his tune, offering to testify before the Senate impeachment trial if he was asked to do so.

After Graham's initial vote to block subpoenas for witness testimony, portions of Bolton's upcoming book were leaked to the press. Those leaks contained explosive details, alleging Trump told Bolton he was withholding military aid to Ukraine unless that government opened investigations into Trump's political rivals, a key aspect related to Trump's impeachment.

Senators are planning to vote again on Friday on the issue of calling witnesses. On Wednesday, days after the leaks of Bolton's book were published, Graham indicated he still has no intention of seeking additional witness testimony.

"It is my opinion, based on the law and facts, that additional testimony is unnecessary in this case," Graham wrote on Twitter.

Graham's current position against witness testimony is diametrically opposed to his position in President Bill Clinton's 1999 Senate impeachment trial.

At that time, Graham said, "in every trial that there's ever been in the Senate, regarding impeachment, witnesses were called." He also said, "You're basically changing impeachment" if witnesses aren't called.

If Graham and his Republican colleagues succeed in blocking all witnesses, it would be the first Senate impeachment trial in U.S. history without witnesses.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.