An old clip of South Carolina’s senior U.S. senator making an argument for impeachment has resurfaced on social media.
After two former aides to President Donald Trump either pleaded or were found guilty of federal crimes Tuesday, a clip of then-U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham arguing for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1999 was posted to Twitter by liberal MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell.
“Every reporter must now ask @LindseyGrahamSC if he still believes in the standard he set for removing a president in the impeachment of Bill Clinton,” O’Donnell wrote.
In 1999, Graham was one of the prosecutors in the House of Representatives’ case for removing Clinton from office after he was impeached over the Monica Lewinsky affair. (Graham was elected to the U.S. Senate from South Carolina in 2002.)
“You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job (as president) in this constitutional republic if this body determines your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role,” Graham says of Clinton in the nearly 20-year-old clip.
“Because impeachment is not about punishment,” he said. “Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
Tuesday, Graham emphasized that the two court proceedings this week have not resulted in any criminal charges against Trump or other campaign personnel over alleged collusion with Russia.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight counts of financial crimes tied to his consulting work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician. Separately, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for paying two women to cover up affair allegations against Trump before the 2016 election.
“The American legal system is working its will in both the Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen cases,” Graham said in a statement Tuesday. “Thus far, there have yet to be any charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.”
Graham emphasized in his statement that legal processes, including the investigation into the Trump campaign by special counsel Robert Mueller, should be allowed to play out. Trump increasingly has castigated the investigation as a “witch hunt” in his own tweets.
“It’s important to let this process continue without interference,” Graham said. “I hope Mr. Mueller can conclude his investigation sooner, rather than later, for the benefit of the nation.”