Despite receiving a small amount of bipartisan support, the ongoing impeachment effort against former President Donald Trump appears destined to fail when a trial commences this month in the U.S. Senate.
That was the assessment of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who recently expressed confidence that Senate Republicans will remain “very united” against convicting Trump.
“It will open up Pandora’s box”
Graham’s remarks on the matter came during Wednesday’s broadcast of America Reports on Fox News.
“I think the Republican Party is going to be very united around the idea that impeaching a president who lives in Florida, who’s out of office, is unconstitutional,” he said, according to Fox.
The South Carolina Republican went on to share his belief that no one had “envisioned a post-presidential impeachment,” thus rendering the unprecedented trial unlikely to result in a conviction.
“It will open up Pandora’s box for the presidency,” Graham opined, as Fox reported. “I think they’ll be close to 47 or 48 votes for the idea that this is an unconstitutional exercise, but not enough to stop the case.”
Graham also spoke out against the decision for Sen. Patrick Lahey (D-VT) to preside over the case when U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declined the invitation to do so.
Senate trial begins next week
Trump, who has been accused in an article of impeachment of inciting an insurrection in connection to last month’s riot on Capitol Hill, will become the first commander in chief to be tried in the Senate twice when it begins next week. He was first impeached and later acquitted more than a year ago on articles related to alleged abuse of office by seeking political help from Ukraine.
In the coming days, senators are set to begin the second trial, which will also make history as the first such proceeding against a former president.
Trump’s defense team is expected to argue, at least in part, some of the same points brought up by Graham, namely that the trial is invalid since there is no allowance for the impeachment and removal of a former president in the U.S. Constitution.
Furthermore, critics of the effort claim that it would create a dangerous precedent that would allow either party to pursue the impeachment of ex-officials — including former presidents.
Regardless of the defense arguments put forward, the chances of conviction are stacked against Democrats, who would need 17 Republicans to vote with them to secure the desired outcome. Considering the fact that 45 of the body’s 50 Republicans have already voted against holding a trial because they believe it is unconstitutional, another acquittal appears all but certain.