In 1998, then-Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was an impeachment manager against Bill Clinton, urging senators to remove the Democratic president from office. The South Carolina Republican adopted standards at the time that he seems eager to abandon now.
Over the weekend, arguably the most striking example to date emerged.
On Saturday, a clip of Graham during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton made the rounds on social media, showing the then-representative make an appeal to his colleagues not to rush through the process or make a judgment before it’s over.
“I have a duty far greater than just getting to the next election,” Graham said then. “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.”
Of course, Graham is now the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, explicitly stating ahead of a Republican president’s impeachment trial, “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.”
A cynic might think the GOP lawmaker adopts contradictory standards based on whether the president is a member of his political party.
And while Lindsey Graham’s hypocrisy offers an extreme example, he’s hardly alone. The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus recently highlighted a notable detail: “Fifteen current Republican senators served in the House or Senate during the Clinton impeachment. All but one of those – Sen. Susan Collins of Maine – voted either to impeach Clinton or to convict him and remove him from office. I’d challenge any of them to explain why they deemed Clinton’s behavior so bad and are so unmoved by Trump’s.”
That doesn’t include Republicans who were in the House in 1998, who supported Clinton’s impeachment at the time, and who’ve since joined the Senate.
Are any of them prepared to accept Marcus’ challenge?