Joe Biden Faces Stalled Senate As Lindsey Graham Warns of Prolonged Impeachment Trial

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has warned of a prolonged Senate impeachment trial if witnesses are called, potentially occupying the upper chamber for months at the beginning of Joe Biden's tenure.

Former President Donald Trump's trial is due to begin February 8, following him becoming the first commander-in-chief to be impeached twice earlier in January.

Many Senate Republicans have spoken against holding such a trial for a former president and a recent vote on the constitutionality of this situation indicated that Trump will avoid conviction.

Graham, speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News, spoke of a desire for a motion to dismiss to pass and then went on to discuss how the trial could pan out should this not happen.

"If there's an effort by the Democrats to call a single witness in the United States Senate, they had no record in the House, there will be delay of this trial, there will be a Pandora's box being opened. We will want witnesses and this thing will go on for weeks if not months," Graham said.

"So I'm hoping that we have a trial based on a stipulation of fact, not witnesses, and we get this behind us in about three days after we begin."

He later added: "Let's get this travesty over with quickly."

Graham also criticized Biden when discussing the impeachment.

Referencing Biden's calls for unity, he said: "It tells you a lot about Biden's ability and desire to bring us together by the fact that he's sitting on the sidelines."

Polling has indicated that impeachment is a divisive issue among the public, which Republicans had previously leveraged as an argument against it.

Biden throughout his campaign and since has revolved his discourse around a hope of unifying the nation, urging his and Trump's supporters to "give each other a chance."

While a prolonged impeachment trial could hamper this goal, it could also pose a practical issue of drawing Senate focus from his agenda.

"Even for those who see the impeachment trial as warranted and necessary, there's no getting around the fact that, whenever it goes forward, it will dominate Senate proceedings," Dr. Julie Norman, a lecturer in politics and international relations at University College London, previously told Newsweek.

This potential for further disruption to Democrat plans in the Senate comes with business having already been stalled over a rules dispute. Organization of the chamber had been stalled due to sparring over the legislative filibuster. However, the opposition of some Democrats to scrap this has assuaged Republican's calls for guarantees it will remain, with discussions of a power-sharing deal similar to that from 2001—when there was last a 50/50 Senate.

Newsweek has contacted Graham's office for further comment and the White House for comment on the prospect of a prolonged impeachment trial.

lindsey graham leaves senate after vote
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) leaves the floor of the Senate following a vote on January 26, 2021 in Washington, D.C. He has called for the impeachment trial to be carried out quickly, suggesting it could be drawn out if witnesses are called. Samuel Corum/Getty Images