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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued an ultimatum to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday.
“If we don’t get the articles this week, then we need to take matters in our own hands and change the rules,” Graham told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) acknowledged last week that Pelosi’s refusal to send the approved articles of impeachment to the Senate prevents the upper chamber from holding the impeachment trial that the Constitution mandates. But Graham said a rule change could usurp Pelosi’s political maneuvering.
“My goal is to start this trial in the next coming days, not let Nancy Pelosi take over the Senate,” Graham said.
The South Carolina lawmaker went on to accuse Pelosi of engaging in a “political stunt,” calling her refusal to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate “dangerous.”
“Well, we’re not going to let Nancy Pelosi use the rules of the Senate to her advantage. This is dangerous to the presidency as an institution,” Graham said, according to Fox News. “They impeached the president, but the speaker of the House is holding the articles back, trying to extort from the majority leader of the Senate a trial to her liking. They’re trying to hold these articles over the head of the president.”
Changing the Senate rules would require simple 51-vote majority approval, NBC News reported, which is almost guaranteed since Republicans control the Senate.
The House formally approved two articles of impeachment against Trump on Dec. 18, one for abuse of power and another for obstruction of Congress. Pelosi has so far refused to send the articles to the Senate, citing a lack of fairness.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” she said the day after Trump was officially impeached.