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Sen. Graham: If Democrats Pursue Trump’s Impeachment, They Will Face Political Peril

Attorney General William Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided criminal charges were not warranted against Trump

Sen. Graham, Democrats, Trump
FILE - Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to the media after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, March 25, 2019. VOA

A top U.S. Republican lawmaker predicted Sunday that if opposition Democrats in the House of Representatives try to impeach President Donald Trump, the president will be re-elected next year and Republicans will retake control of the House.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, an ally of Trump’s, told “Fox News Sunday” that if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic-controlled lower chamber, permits an impeachment inquiry to start, “it would be suicide for the Democratic Party.”

Graham said Pelosi’s “job is very much on the line,” depending on whether she eventually relents on allowing an impeachment hearing to open.

About three dozen Democrats and a lone Republican in the 435-member House have called for impeachment hearings to start against Trump, to consider whether he obstructed justice by trying to thwart special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian intrusion in the 2016 U.S. presidential election that Trump won. Even if the House were to impeach Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove him from office.

Sen. Graham, Democrats, Trump
About three dozen Democrats and a lone Republican in the 435-member House have called for impeachment hearings to start against Trump. Pixabay

So far, Pelosi has resisted calls to start an impeachment inquiry, instead opting to continue several House committee investigations of Trump’s finances, taxes and actions he took during his 28-month presidency to try to end the Mueller probe or curb its scope. But she said last week that Trump has been engaging “in a cover-up” by refusing to cooperate with the Democratic-led investigations.

She said the House investigations “may take us to impeachment,” but that currently “we are not at that place.”

Trump pointedly rejected her “cover-up” claim, saying, “I don’t do cover-ups.” At a brief White House meeting, Trump refused to negotiate with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer over policy issues while the House investigations continue.

“You can’t do it under these circumstances,” he said. “What they’ve done is abuse. Let them play their games.”

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Mueller concluded that Trump did not collude with Russia to help him win, but outlined 11 possible times he engaged in obstructive behavior, while not reaching a conclusion whether he should face criminal charges. Subsequently, Attorney General William Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided criminal charges were not warranted against Trump.

Trump has encouraged a counter-investigation by Barr, his appointee as the country’s top law enforcement officer, as he has started a probe into the origins of the Russia probe. Trump gave Barr full authority to declassify intelligence information that led to the start of the investigation of Russian meddling in the election and eventually the Mueller probe.

Before leaving Washington for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said, “They will be able to see… how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started. It was an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States.”

He claimed, “There’s word and rumor that the FBI and others were involved, CIA were involved with the [United Kingdom], having to do with the Russian hoax. We’re exposing everything.”

Sen. Graham, Democrats, Trump
Trump refused to negotiate with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer over policy issues. Pixabay

Several Democratic lawmakers and former intelligence community officials have attacked Trump for telling Barr he is free to release whatever information he decides to.

But Graham said that does not worry him. “I support Attorney General Barr to make this as transparent as possible,” he said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, from Tokyo on Trump’s visit, told NBC, “We already know there was an outrageous amount of corruption at the Justice Department.”

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She said Trump wants “to get to the bottom of what happened.” (VOA)

Next Story

Impeachment Process Divides Global Opinion, but Shows Democracy in Action

Trump Impeachment Drama Gets Attention, Mixed Reviews Around World

Impeachment Process of Donald Trump
President Donald Trump waits outside the Oval Office of the White House before walking with first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump on the South Lawn in Washington, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is traveling to Florida for a campaign rally and the Thanksgiving holiday. VOA
As the impeachment process against U.S. President Donald Trump unfolds, it’s not only Americans who are following every twist and turn. Millions of people around the world have been following the testimonies on Capitol Hill and are fascinated by the political warfare in Washington. Many observers say it shows American democracy in action.

Trump is accused of threatening to withhold $392 million in military assistance to Ukraine, unless Kyiv launched a public corruption investigation into the family of his political rival, the Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. Soliciting foreign interference in U.S. democracy is unlawful and Trump strongly denies the allegations.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Britain is trying to break out of its own political crisis caused by the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. With a general election imminent, many Britons see their own recent political chaos mirrored across the Atlantic, says political scientist Thomas Gift of University College London.

“Both the U.S. and the U.K. [Britain] are rivaling one another for levels of dysfunction in government, or lack of ability to get things done,” Gift said. “Typically, the world, including the U.K., looks to the U.S. as a model of democratic governance and has had, for a long time, institutions of power and leadership that project integrity. And I think watching this, particularly from abroad, I think does to some extent undercut that belief that the U.S. is this kind of moral, ethical and democratic leader.”

Polls suggest less than one in five Britons have a positive opinion of Trump — and that’s echoed in the views of many watching the impeachment process play out.

View of the Arc de Triomphe
General view of the Arc de Triomphe as French President Emmanuel Macron attends a commemoration ceremony for Armistice day, 101 years after the end of the First World War, in Paris, France. VOA

“If it goes through the House, I really hope that the Senate really stand up and do something about it. He shouldn’t be president and he should be impeached,” London resident Dayo Thomas told VOA.

In Paris, there is mixed interest in Washington’s political battles. Jacques Grau, a physician, believes the impeachment process is a good idea. “It allows democracy to function,” he told VOA.

Student Selene Ay says many of her contemporaries are not that interested.

“I know a lot of people followed after [Trump] was elected. But I think it kind of died down, I guess. People don’t care that much.”

There appears to be greater interest in Russia — and seemingly, greater support for Trump. Moscow resident Mikhail says the Americans elected Trump, “but now they want to take the decision back. That is wrong,” he said.

Fellow Moscow resident Dmitri says it is a political struggle. “[Joe] Biden’s team is just looking for compromising information to make Trump step down.”

They may be strategic rivals, but Russia doesn’t necessarily welcome America’s political problems, according to Andrey Kortunov, director of the Russian Council on International Affairs.

Buildings in Cairo, Egypt
A general view of clustered buildings in Cairo, Egypt. VOA

“The only U.S. president who can fix problems with Moscow is a strong U.S. president,” Kortunov told VOA. “So if Trump is under impeachment it definitely weakens his position and it becomes more difficult for him to manage this very complex and very delicate relationship. We need to have predictable partners. Weakness makes leaders unpredictable.”

With 1.3 billion people, India is often called the world’s biggest democracy. In Delhi, there is admiration for principle of impeachment. “It means that it is a very fair, a proper democracy at work,” according to Dipika Nanjappa, who works at a local voluntary organization. Retired government official Ashish Banerjee agrees: “We need to be more accountable. Our leaders need to be more accountable,” he told VOA.

Cairo resident Sameh Ghoneim sees echoes of Egypt’s own leadership in the alleged actions of Donald Trump. “He is only interested in personal gain,” said Ghoneim, who works as a mining engineer outside the capital. “He will look for corruption in others when it helps him.”

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In South Africa’s Johannesburg, opinion on Trump’s fate is again divided. “I think he’s doing just fine, so I don’t see the reason why he should be removed,” said local chef Khanyisile Shongwe. Cleaner Joseph Maisa is no fan of the U.S. president. “He doesn’t bring nice things in America. That is why he should be removed.”

The impeachment process could go on well into 2020, as the U.S. also gears up for the presidential election following what promises to be a bitterly fought campaign. Each twist and turn will be followed closely across the globe. (VOA)