Senate Resolution Calls for House to Follow Impeachment Procedures, Precedent, and Due Process

Yesterday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a resolution condemning the House Democrats' failure to follow standard procedures and precedents in their "impeachment inquiry" against President Trump.  The resolution called for the House to accord the President basic, constitutional due process protections.  As of today, there are fifty co-sponsors for the resolution.  

The resolution states, in part:

Expressing the sense of the Senate that the House of Representatives should, consistent with long-standing practice and precedent, prior to proceeding any further with its impeachment investigation into President Donald J. Trump, vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry and provide President Trump with fundamental constitutional protections. . . .

Whereas the House of Representatives is abandoning more than a century’s worth of precedent and tradition in impeachment proceedings and denying President Trump basic fairness and due process accorded every American; . . .

Whereas the main allegations against President Trump are based on assertions and testimony from witnesses whom he is unable to confront, as part of a process in which he is not able to offer witnesses in his defense or have a basic understanding of the allegations lodged against him;

Whereas all witness interviews that have been conducted thus far in the House have been behind closed doors with limited minority participation[.]

Leader McConnell explained the need for the resolution (emphasis added):

Any process to overrule the American people’s democratic decision in a presidential election must adhere to the highest standards of fairness and due process. Yet the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is breaking critical precedents, denying the administration important rights that were afforded other presidents, and violating basic rules of due process.

Unlike the House’s actions during investigations of both President Nixon and President Clinton, this House majority is denying President Trump important rights and due process protections. These include President Trump’s right to be represented by counsel; his right for that counsel to be present at all hearings and depositions; his right for that counsel to call and cross-examine witnesses; and even his right to access and respond to the evidence which the House compiles. . . .

The entire country knows that many Washington Democrats have wanted to nullify the results of the 2016 election from the moment that President Trump won it. Prominent members of the House have been promising to impeach him since the earliest months of his presidency.

But the fact that some House Democrats may have made up their minds years ago does not remove their solemn responsibility to conduct this enormously consequential process in a fair manner that follows precedent and respects the due process that every single American deserves.

Chairman Graham said (emphasis added):

"Every American should be disturbed by what is taking place in the House of Representatives regarding the attempt to impeach President Trump,” said Graham. “One of the cornerstones of American jurisprudence is due process – the right to confront your accuser, call witnesses on your behalf, and challenge the accusations against you. None of this is occurring in the House.” . . .

Graham concluded, “It is imperative the President be able to confront his accuser, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment.  We cannot have a country where every American has rights except Donald Trump. I find the current process illegitimate and dangerous to the future of the presidency.”

While the Senate cannot force the House to accord the President due process rights, the Senate would sit in judgment upon any articles of impeachment passed by the House.  The support of fifty senators for this resolution sends a strong message to House Democrats that the Senate will not condone abandoning precedent and violating the President's due process rights.  Thanks to Chairman Graham and Leader McConnell for their leadership.