Lindsey Graham, who denounced Trump after the Capitol siege, opposes impeachment and implies Mitch McConnell is ‘making the problem worse’

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol January 7, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized the House impeachment efforts on Wednesday and appeared to shade Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • "It is a rushed process that, over time, will become a threat to future presidents," Graham said in a statement. "As to Senate leadership, I fear they are making the problem worse, not better."
  • Graham broke from President Donald Trump and firmly acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 race on the Senate floor last Wednesday.
  • However, on Tuesday, Graham accompanied Trump on Air Force One for a visit to Alamo, Texas.
  • "The last thing the country needs is an impeachment trial of a president who is leaving office in one week," Graham said on Wednesday, adding that Trump is now "calling for calm."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted the House impeachment effort against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, and appeared to slight Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his rumored support of the process.

"The House impeachment process seeks to legitimize a snap impeachment totally void of due process. No hearings. No witnesses. It is a rushed process that, over time, will become a threat to future presidents," Graham said in a statement. "As to Senate leadership, I fear they are making the problem worse, not better."

Though Graham did not mention McConnell by name, the New York Times reported on Tuesday night that the GOP leader is said to be "pleased" with the impeachment proceedings. A source close to McConnell told Axios that he is considering voting to convict Trump in an impeachment trial. CNN also confirmed McConnell's thinking on Wednesday, reporting that the Senate leader wants a "clean break" from Trump, "hates" the president over his response to the deadly riots last week, and that the two haven't spoken in weeks.

McConnell has not publicly announced his support for impeachment. So far, a handful of House Republicans have said they will vote "yes" on impeachment, marking it a bipartisan effort. The House vote is expected to take place Wednesday afternoon, and it remains to be seen whether more GOP members will join the ranks. Either way, the House has secured enough support to impeach Trump, charging the president with incitement of insurrection. He will become the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

"To my Republican colleagues who legitimize this process, you are doing great damage not only to the country, the future of the presidency, but also to the party," Graham said on Wednesday. 

The impeachment proceedings come a week after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol and forced Congress to lockdown while they were certifying the 2020 election results. An overwhelming amount of lawmakers, including Graham, quickly declared that Trump's rhetoric and actions fueled the mob. 

A staunch ally of Trump, Graham broke from the president and firmly acknowledged that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 race on the Senate floor last Wednesday. The move was a sharp turn from his steadfast loyalty to Trump that has grown over the past four years, which Graham called "a hell of a journey."

The next day, Graham reiterated his stance and took his comments further, specifically calling out Trump for his role in the attempted coup and urging him to take responsibility.

"When it comes to accountability, the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution," Graham said last Thursday. He also suggested that his relationship with Trump had come to an end.

However, on Tuesday, their alliance didn't appear to be completely over, as Graham accompanied Trump on Air Force One for a trip to Alamo, Texas, where the president hailed the 450-mile wall built at the U.S.-Mexico border. (The border spans roughly 2,000 miles.) A spokesperson for Graham told Insider that the two discussed "border security and immigration issues."

Graham continued to backtrack on Wednesday, and defended the president.

"The last thing the country needs is an impeachment trial of a president who is leaving office in one week," he said, adding that Trump is now "calling for calm."

On Tuesday, Trump described his behavior before the riots as "totally appropriate."

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