Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham warned Sunday that Democrats may have opened “pandora’s box” by pursuing a second impeachment against former President Donald Trump.
What is the background?
Although Trump was impeached for the second time prior to leaving office, one of the biggest questions looming over his Senate trial last week was the constitutionality of conducting an impeachment trial against someone who is now a private citizen.
Indeed, Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution seemingly limits impeachment to the “president, vice president, and all civil officers of the United States.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) claimed Trump is “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” that happened on Jan. 6. But he explained after the Senate trial that he voted to acquit Trump precisely because he did not think the Senate had constitutional jurisdiction to conduct an impeachment trial against a former president. In fact, McConnell called Trump “not eligible for conviction.”
What did Graham say?
The South Carolina Republican declared Sunday that Democrats have now established a precedent that may come back to haunt them in the future.
In fact, Graham said that if Republicans retake control of the House, Vice President Kamala Harris could be conceivably impeached for the exact same charges that Democrats levied against Trump.
“We’ve opened Pandora’s box to future presidents,” Graham said.
“If you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House, because she actually bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to the streets and broke somebody’s head open,” Graham explained. “So, we’ve opened Pandora’s box here and I’m sad for the country.”
Graham’s citation of Harris is a reference to the former California senator urging her supporters to contribute to a bail fund for protesters last summer.
Earlier in the interview, Graham said he believed the impeachment trial against Trump was an unconstitutional endeavor.
“I felt the impeachment trial was not only unconstitutional — I condemn what happens on Jan. 6 — but the process they used it to impeach this president was an affront to rule of law,” Graham declared.
“He is the first president to ever be impeached without a lawyer, without a witness, without an ability to confront those against him and the trial record was a complete joke, hearsay upon hearsay,” he added.