Donald Trump's Failure to Comply With Congressional Subpoenas Was Once Described by Lindsey Graham as Impeachment-worthy

Footage of Sen. Lindsey Graham from the 1998 Clinton impeachment, in which the South Carolina Republican describes a president ignoring congressional subpoenas as impeachable, has resurfaced once again on Twitter.

President Donald Trump's White House is instructing people both inside and outside of the administration not to comply with subpoenas by the House committees currently investigating him under the umbrella of an impeachment inquiry.

Democrats are exploring impeachment over the Ukraine-Biden affair. Trump asked the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a 2020 election candidate. Trump is accused of seeking foreign interference in the election.

Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, also wrote a letter to senior House Democrats asserting that the impeachment inquiry is "constitutionally illegitimate" and about undoing the 2016 election, so neither Trump or his administration would participate in its impeachment inquiry.

While he was still a Congressman, Graham was a manager during the Clinton impeachment. The video clip of Graham, which has circulated previously, was first highlighted by the campaign group Republicans for the Rule of Law. The conservative journalist Bill Krystol posted it again on his Twitter account on Tuesday and the video was shared widely.

Lindsey Graham impeachment video 1998 Trump subpoenas
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum 2019 "Lo scenario dell'Economia e della Finanza" on September 6, 2019 in Cernobbio, Italy. Graham said previously that a president's failure to comply with congressional subpoenas is impeachable. Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

"Article Three of impeachment against Richard Nixon, the Article was based on the idea that Richard Nixon as president failed to comply with subpoenas of Congress," Graham says in the clip.

"Congress was going through its oversight function to provide oversight of the president. When asked for information Richard Nixon chose not to comply and the Congress back in that time said you're taking impeachment away from us.

"You're becoming the judge and jury. It is not your job to tell us what we need, it is your job to comply with the things we need to provide oversight over you.

"The day Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is that day that he was subject to impeachment because he took the power from Congress over the impeachment process away from Congress and he became the judge and jury."

Graham did not respond immediately to Newsweek's request for comment.

Lindsey Graham: A president who doesn't comply with Congressional requests for information is subject to impeachment.

— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 8, 2019

"As you know, you have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process," White House counsel Cipollone wrote in his letter.

"For example, you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans.

"You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives.

"All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives—under the control of either political party—taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and one of the letter's recipients, hit back at Cipollone's claims.

"For a while, the President has tried to normalize lawlessness. Now, he is trying to make lawlessness a virtue," Pelosi said in a statement.

"The President's actions threaten our national security, violate our Constitution and undermine the integrity of our elections. The White House letter is only the latest attempt to cover up his betrayal of our democracy, and to insist that the President is above the law.

"This letter is manifestly wrong, and is simply another unlawful attempt to hide the facts of the Trump Administration's brazen efforts to pressure foreign powers to intervene in the 2020 elections.

"Despite the White House's stonewalling, we see a growing body of evidence that shows that President Trump abused his office and violated his oath to 'protect, preserve and defend the Constitution.'

"The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President's abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction. Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable."