Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made a surprising move during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. After House Manager Jamie Raskin requested a vote to call witnesses, Graham voted “no.” Graham then addressed Sen. Leahy (D-VT), currently presiding over the trial, stating he wanted to reverse his vote to “yes,” joining Republicans Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, and Ben Sasse.
Trial observers were confused, as many sought to understand Graham’s sudden change of heart. Some believed it was a strategic move on the part of the Senator from South Carolina. After all, the House Managers had already secured a victory in their attempt to call witnesses with a 54 to 46 vote. So why, then, did Graham join the other four GOP Senators that voted for witnesses?
Graham cleared up his motivation via a series of tweets he crafted shortly after his “yes” vote. Based on his tweets, one can surmise that it was somewhat of a power play. The focus of his tweets: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to his tweets, Graham seeks to call Pelosi to testify to determine “Whether Speaker Pelosi, due to optics, refused requests by the Capitol Hill Police for additional resources like the National Guard?” He adds, “Her testimony is incredibly relevant to the incitement charge.”
As the RFAngle recently reported, there is evidence to suggest that Congress, as well as local Washington D.C. government officials, may have been privy to information of possible threats before the Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 6 but chose to not assemble additional security, despite an offer from the Trump Administration for thousands of troops.
As the trial recessed until 12:30 PM, other Senators commented on the sudden call for witnesses, when most believed the trial would end after closing arguments. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brought up the troubling possibility that House Managers, while enjoying a majority in the Senate, could vote to allow any and all witnesses they wish to hear from while blocking Trump’s defense team from calling a single witness.
Cruz joined Graham in calling for Pelosi to be subpoenaed and added D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as another witness with potentially critical and relevant information.
Once the Senate was back in session, it was stated that the Impeachment trial would, in fact, resume with no witnesses, after a second Senate vote. It is unclear what caused the change of heart. Still, it is possible that Democrat Senators determined calling witnesses would potentially be unfavorable for their case or members of their party.