Republicans on Thursday pressed their campaign to discredit the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with an ally of the president introducing a U.S. Senate resolution calling the procedures used by House of Representatives Democrats unfair but saying nothing about Trump’s conduct in the Ukraine scandal, ONA reports citing Fox News.
Forty-four of the 53 Republicans in the 100-seat Senate have signed on to the resolution, which urges the House to hold a formal vote to initiate the impeachment inquiry and give Trump the ability to “confront his accusers” and call his own witnesses, said its lead sponsor, Senator Lindsey Graham. The resolution does not say Trump should not be investigated.
The U.S. Constitution, however, gives the House wide latitude in how to handle impeachment.
The impeachment inquiry focuses on Trump’s request in a July telephone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a domestic political rival, Joe Biden, the former vice president who is a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election.
“I’m not here to tell you that Donald Trump’s done nothing wrong. I’m not here to tell you anything other than that the way they’re going about it is really dangerous for the country and we need to change course while we can in the House,” Graham told a news conference, referring to House Democrats.
Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress this week scaled up efforts to combat the probe after Trump on Monday urged them to get tougher in fighting the Democrats leading it. The inquiry threatens Trump’s presidency.
The resolution accused House Democrats of “abandoning more than a century’s worth of precedent and tradition in impeachment proceedings and denying President Trump basic fairness and due process accorded every American.” The resolution does not defend Trump’s behavior in the Ukraine matter.
Even if passed in the Republican-led Senate, the resolution would not affect the House inquiry. However, it would place Republican senators on the record on impeachment at a time when some cracks in Trump’s support within his own party have appeared, including pointed criticism from Senator Mitt Romney.
If the House passes articles of impeachment - formal charges - the Senate would then hold a trial on whether to remove Trump from office. A two-thirds majority of the Senate would be required to remove the president. No U.S. president has ever been removed from office via impeachment.
More than two dozen House Republicans barged into a high-security hearing room on Wednesday and delayed for several hours the testimony of a Pentagon official in the impeachment inquiry, complaining about a lack of transparency. Republican members of the three committees leading the House inquiry have taken part in the proceedings throughout.
“Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History. It has been going on since long before I even got Elected (the Insurance Policy!). A total Scam!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“I’m glad they did it,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said of the House Republicans, speaking on Fox News.