On the Day Trump's Lawyer Giuliani Refused to Cooperate With Congress, Lindsey Graham Said That Is an Impeachable Offense

Sen. Lindsey Graham has reiterated his view that not complying with congressional subpoenas is an impeachable offense. His statement comes after a series of President Donald Trump's advisers and administration officials said they would not cooperate with House impeachment hearing procedures.

The Democrats set a Tuesday deadline for Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to hand over documents related to Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Graham was asked by reporters for his view is on the impeachment investigation, given more than 20 years ago he said not complying with a subpoena was an impeachable offense.

"Yeah, nothing's changed," he said before walking away.

Graham's previous remarks about subpoenas were made during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment inquiry, while referencing Richard Nixon.

"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," Graham said in December 1998.

"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."

Reporter: "20 years ago, you said not complying with a subpoena was an impeachable offense."

Sen. Lindsey Graham: "Nothing's changed." pic.twitter.com/RDkmOWks7U

— The Hill (@thehill) October 15, 2019

Giuliani has confirmed he would not comply with the subpoena and the "illegitimate, unconstitutional, and baseless" impeachment inquiry in a letter from his, now former, lawyer Jon Sale.

"Jon Sale, who is a lifelong friend, has represented me for the sole purpose of analyzing the request and responding. At this time, I do not need a lawyer," Giuliani wrote.

In the letter to Congress, Sale accused the subpoenas of being "overbroad, unduly burdensome, and [seeking] documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry."

I will not participate in an illegitimate, unconstitutional, and baseless “impeachment inquiry.”

Jon Sale, who is a lifelong friend, has represented me for the sole purpose of analyzing the request and responding. At this time, I do not need a lawyer. pic.twitter.com/l0IR0ikEHD

— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) October 15, 2019

The OMB also said it has no plans to turn over the documents that impeachment committees subpoenaed, reported Reuters. Russ Vought, the OMB's acting head, told Fox News last week that the office "will not be participating in a sham process designed to re-litigate the last election."

Esper previously told CBS' Face the Nation that the Defense Department would do "everything we can" to comply with the impeachment hearings.

Vice President Mike Pence was also asked to hand over documents, but was not issued a subpoena to do so.

In a letter to the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, Pence's lawyer Matthew Morgan confirmed he will not hand over information in relation to the "self-proclaimed 'impeachment inquiry.'"

The letter cites the House of Representatives not yet voting to authorize the inquiry as justification for rejecting the request.

"Never before in history has the Speaker of the House attempted to launch an 'impeachment inquiry' against a president without the majority of the House of Representatives voting to authorize a constitutionally acceptable process," the letter adds.

Speaking at a news conference following a meeting of House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi said no such vote is needed.

"There is no requirement that we have a vote and so at this time we will not be having a vote," Pelosi added.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said the government's reluctance to cooperate with the proceedings shows that "the evidence of obstruction of Congress continues to build."

 Lindsey Graham
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, (R-SC)., speaks at a news conference proposing legislation to address the crisis at the southern border at the U.S. Capitol on May 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty