As a U.S. Senator and staunch ally of President Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham has, in the past, described a president’s refusal to cooperate with congressional oversight as an impeachable offense, Newsweek reports. Although Graham has remained supportive of the president as Trump continues to do battle with opponents in congress, a video circulating on Twitter shows a very different point of view when it comes to such matters.
In the recently rediscovered video from December of 1998, Graham speaks with passion saying that President Richard Nixon could have been impeached due to his refusal to comply with Congressional subpoenas at the time. In his remarks, Graham was, in fact, making the case for the eventual impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton.
“You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic,” Graham says in the video. “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
At the time, Graham, then a Representative, was a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and as a result, served as a manager in Clinton’s ultimately unsuccessful impeachment trial.
The video has resurfaced at a time when the president and his allies in congress and elsewhere are facing intense scrutiny with respect to the administration’s handling of congressional oversight in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
On Thursday, Gerry Connolly, a Democrat and member of the House Oversight Committee, was threatening jail time for Trump officials who do not comply with subpoenas.
“We will use any and all power in our command to make sure it’s backed up — whether that’s a contempt citation, whether that’s going to court and getting that citation enforced, whether it’s fines, whether it’s possible incarceration,” Connolly said in an interview.
“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Trump told reporters in response to the controversy. “These aren’t, like, impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.”
Trump’s remarks came following a missed deadline by the Treasury Department to deliver Trump’s personal and business tax documents to the Ways and Means Committee.
In a similar instance of avoiding compliance with congressional actions, reports indicate that Trump will claim executive privilege to block some aides from testifying before congress. One example is ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn, who remains a key figure from the administration, who may have insight into possible obstruction of justice by the president.