Sen. Lindsey Graham said Republicans will bring in the FBI if Democrats call witnesses in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
The South Carolina Republican told Fox News guest host Trey Gowdy on Monday that drawn-out impeachment proceedings would be akin to opening Pandora’s Box and said he hopes for a quick vote on whether to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection related to the Jan. 6 siege of Congress.
“If you open up that can of worms, we’ll want the FBI to come in and tell us about how people actually preplanned these attacks and what happened with the security footprint at the Capitol,” Graham said.
Citing “mounting evidence that the people came to Washington and preplanned the attack before the president ever spoke,” Graham said he is “confident” that a sufficient number of Republicans will vote in favor of acquitting Trump in the evenly split Senate that is controlled by the Democrats. “It will be in the high 40s,” he predicted. A two-thirds vote is needed to convict.
The FBI is conducting an investigation into the Capitol riot and has found evidence of coordinated attack that was planned in advance, according to the Washington Post.
The senator also argued that an impeachment trial for a president out of office is unconstitutional and that Trump’s speech at a “Stop the Steal” rally, where he urged supporters to protest Congress affirming President Biden’s victory on the day of the Capitol breach, does not fit the “incitement statute” and that it’s “not a crime.”
The trial is expected to start next week, but Trump’s response to the impeachment summons and the House’s pre-trial brief are due on Tuesday.
In recent days, the former president parted ways with several lawyers from South Carolina who were set to defend him, reportedly because they were unwilling to argue that the election was stolen from him. In a Sunday evening statement, David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr. were announced as the new head lawyers for the defense.
Graham suggested there were “too many cooks in the kitchen” to explain why the team of South Carolina lawyers left Trump’s team and said the new recruits are “really good lawyers.”