Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Saturday signaled he'll do everything he can to ensure a Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump ends quickly, and that he does not intend to approach the process as an impartial juror.
Graham told Anderson he did not find it problematic he was voicing his opinion on the matter before the House had even held a full vote on impeaching the president. "Well, I must think so because I'm doing it," Graham said.
This came one day after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress in relation to his efforts to stonewall House investigators in the impeachment inquiry.
After the vote, Graham in a statement said: "A sad, ridiculous sham in the US House of Representatives. This needs to come to a quick end."
The House is set to hold a full vote next week, in which Trump is expected to be impeached. This will move the impeachment process to the Senate for a trial, where all 100 senators will serve as jurors. The trial is expected to begin in early 2020.
'I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here'
Though some GOP senators have cited the importance of behaving as impartial jurors in this process, Graham is seemingly poised to take a different approach.
"I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here," Graham told Anderson on Saturday, going on to dismiss the impeachment proceedings as "partisan nonsense."
Graham on Saturday also said he believed the impeachment trial would be over by mid-January.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, listens during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 Congress is putting Facebook, Twitter and Google under a public microscope about Russia's use of their networks to meddle in the 2016 election, a day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's criminal investigation disclosed its first indictments and guilty plea. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., holds up a copy of the "Steele Dossier" during a hearing with Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, to look at the Inspector General's report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The South Carolina senator responded to the former vice president's critical comments concerning questions about his son Hunter's affiliation to a Ukrainian gas company.
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 11: Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talk after running into each other by chance in the Russell Senate Office Building on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference in Riga, Latvia, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 26: Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled 'Special Counsels and the Separation of Powers,' on September 26, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, center, and ranking member Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, right, arrive to a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 Congress is putting Facebook, Twitter and Google under a public microscope about Russia's use of their networks to meddle in the 2016 election, a day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's criminal investigation disclosed its first indictments and guilty plea. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a press conference about his resistance to the so-called "Skinny Repeal" of the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Senators sponsoring a last-ditch Obamacare repeal bill raced to save it from near-certain death Sunday, circulating a new version aimed at winning over several GOP holdouts. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - MARCH 21: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questions Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building, March 21, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (R) introduces Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (L) at a town hall meeting with employees at FN America gun manufacturers in Columbia, South Carolina February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) departs a military briefing for U.S. senators on the recent U.S. attack in Syria April 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a retaliatory strike yesterday in response to the use of chemical weapons by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) depart after the failure of the "skinny repeal" health care bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) rides on the Senate subway on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Senator John McCain (L) listens as Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference in Riga, Latvia December 28, 2016. Picture taken December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), left, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), right, meet with Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington March 21, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during the 2015 Alfred K. Whitehead Legislative Conference and Presidential Forum March 10, 2015 in Washington, DC. Prospective 2016 presidential candidates from both political parties participated in the presidential forum during the conference which hosted by the International Association of Fire Fighters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (L) meets with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (L), who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) head for the Senate Floor for a vote at the U.S. Capitol July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. GOP efforts to pass legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were dealt setbacks when a mix of conservative and moderate Republican senators joined Democrats to oppose procedural measures on the bill. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., hold a news conference to discuss the bipartisan 'The Dream Act of 2017' in the Capitol on Thursday, July 20, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (L) shakes hands with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (R) at the conclusion of a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing about Russian intereference in the 2016 election in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Before being fired by U.S. President Donald Trump, Yates had warned the White House about contacts between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russia that might make him vulnerable to blackmail. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks to reporters as he arrives for the weekly Republican party caucus luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Sen. Lindsey Graham, accompanied by Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Cheri Bustos, speaks at a press conference calling for an end to forced arbitration on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bob Corker (R-TN) speak after the Senate Budget Committee voted on the markup of the FY2018 Budget reconciliation legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), right, walk to the Capitol Building ahead of the party luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (R), flanked by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) (L), speaks about proposed legislation to deal with so-called "Dreamers," children of undocumented immigrant families who were covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
THE VIEW - Lindsey Graham is the guest today, Monday, January 8, 2018 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network.
(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, SUNNY HOSTIN
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, speaks during a news conference after a Republican policy meeting luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Senate Republicans making one last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare have the daunting task of assembling 50 votes for an emotionally charged bill with limited details on how it would work, what it would cost and how it would affect health coverage -- all in 12 days. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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"Personally I think President Trump will come out of this stronger and the good news is that everybody in politics in America needs to prove to the American public we're not all completely crazy. So there may be a spirit of compromise coming post-impeachment, born of political necessity, if anything else," Graham said.
The South Carolina senator's comments echo recent remarks from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Thursday night told Fox News host Sean Hannity that there was "zero chance" Trump would be removed from office at the cessation of a Senate trial. McConnell also said he'd be working in "total coordination" with the White House and Trump's legal team.
At least one House Democrat, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, has since called on the Republican leader to recuse himself from the Senate impeachment trial in the wake of these remarks. McConnell was also excoriated online by Democratic senators, with Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeting that the GOP leader has "proudly" announced he's "planning to rig the impeachment trial for Trump."
The Majority Leader proudly announcing he is planning to rig the impeachment trial for Trump. https://t.co/D4qmDCx6GJ
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement put out on Friday said: "If articles of impeachment are sent to the Senate, every single senator will take an oath to render 'impartial justice.' Making sure the Senate conducts a fair and honest trial that allows all the facts to come out is paramount."
Graham was among Trump's harshest critics in 2016
Graham was a staunch critic of Trump during the 2016 campaign season, at one point referring to him as a "race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot." But Graham is now one of the president's fiercest defenders in Congress.
Graham, who was still a member of the House of Representatives in 1998, supported impeaching Clinton and at one point urged his colleagues against allowing partisanship to dictate how they would vote in the process. A clip of these remarks was shared across Twitter on Friday and Saturday.
"I have a duty far greater than just getting to the next election," Graham said at the time. "Members of the Senate have said, 'I understand everything there is about this case, and I won't vote to impeach the president.' Please allow the facts to do the talking…Don't decide the case before the case's end."