Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, once made the case that Congress shouldn’t wait for a conviction to impeach a president.
Now, he seems to be ignoring his old comments in light of reports implicating President Donald Trump in wrongdoing.
When President Bill Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, Graham was a member of the House of Representatives, the chamber of Congress responsible for the impeachment proceedings.
Then, Graham spoke before the House, defending impeaching any president as a way of “cleansing” the office.
“You don’t have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this Constitutional Republic,” the then-congressman said.
If the president’s “conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds,” he added, then Congress should act to kick him or her out.
“Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office,” Graham said.
As one of the House prosecutors of the president during Clinton’s impeachment, Graham made a passionate plea to avoid tainting the office of the president by allowing a president to lie before a judge.
“You couldn’t live with yourself knowing that you were going to leave a perjuring judge on the bench,” he said at the time. “Ladies and gentlemen, as hard as it may be for the same reasons, cleanse this office.”
Now, we learned that Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer” pleaded guilty to illegally using campaign funds as “hush money” at Trump's direction, thus interfering in the 2016 election and making Trump an “unindicted co-conspirator,” according to legal analysts. Yet, Graham still has nothing to say about impeaching the president to “cleanse” the office from this stain.
“Thus far, there have yet to be any charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign in the 2016 election,” Graham said on Twitter.
He then added that the investigation should continue undisturbed, but that special counsel Robert Mueller better hurry.
“It’s important to let this process continue without interference. I hope Mr. Mueller can conclude his investigation sooner rather than later for the benefit of the nation,” he said.
The American legal system is working its will in both the #PaulManafort and #MichaelCohen cases.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 21, 2018
Thus far, there have yet to be any charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
It’s important to let this process continue without interference.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 21, 2018
I hope Mr. Mueller can conclude his investigation sooner rather than later for the benefit of the nation.
Sounds worlds apart from what he urged his fellow congressmen to do in the late-1990s when the idea of seeing a president lie to the American people was just too hard to bear.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts