House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sat on the articles of impeachment for weeks so that she could “ensure a fair trial.” In other words, she wanted to try and force the Senate to call additional witnesses, like former National Security Advisor John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. President Trump has repeatedly said he would invoke executive privilege. Instead of waiting for the courts to decide whether these men can testify as part of the impeachment trial, House Democrats pushed full steam ahead because Pelosi said the courts “could take a very long time” to reach a determination.
According to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), there is no need to call additional witnesses. He believes that if they were vital to the impeachment case, they would have been called in the House. Graham compared the use of executive privilege to the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton. When House Republicans called on a senior Clinton advisor, Sidney Blumenthal, the president issued executive privilege. The issue was litigated and Blumenthal ended up testifying.
Graham said Pelosi and the Democrats in the House could have waited to have the courts decide whether or not executive privilege exists for the witnesses they want to testify.
“What are we supposed to do in the Senate regarding executive privilege?” Graham asked Fox News’ Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “If it’s going to be invoked, who determines whether or not the privilege applies? Clearly, to me, any president would ask for executive privilege regarding these witnesses.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman said it’s obvious the House needs these witnesses in order to make their case for impeachment.
“What they’re doing here is they did a railroad job in the House and they’re trying to fix it in the Senate and I’m not going to be part of that,” Graham said.
According to Graham, Trump never had an opportunity to invoke executive privilege. When the president tried to use the right the House impeached him for not complying with Congressional subpoenas instead of waiting to see what the courts decide.
“The president has never been able to go to court because they never let him. I’m not going to legitimize a House impeachment process that calls the secretary of state, the chief of staff and the national security advisor of any president and deny them their day in our court to protect those essential national security advisors, come to the Senate and destroy executive privilege because it could never be used in the House,” he explained. “The bottom line is these people were so important to the case they should have called them in the House.”
“Will the Senate end up calling witnesses?” Wallace asked.
“If we call one witness, we’re going to call all the witnesses,” Graham replied. “There’s not going to be a process where the Democrats get their witnesses and the president gets shut out.”
Graham said calling former Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and the whistleblower can be done outside of impeachment.
“We can look at those allegations of misconduct outside of impeachment,” he explained.