Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham 'Trying to Rig' Trump's Trial, Says Congresswoman Who Worked on Nixon, Clinton Impeachments

A California congresswoman who has worked on all three modern presidential impeachments accused Senator Lindsey Graham and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of "trying to rig" the looming trial of President Donald Trump.

Trump is facing impeachment for allegedly abusing his power to pressure a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election to his advantage. He denies any wrongdoing.

On Saturday, Graham, a South Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN that Trump's Senate trial "will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly."

Graham added: "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."

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told Fox News host Sean Hannity last week that he is coordinating with Trump's lawyers on how to handle the trial.

"There won't be any difference between us on how to do this…The case is so darn weak coming over from the House," McConnell said. "We all know how that's gonna end. There's no chance the president's going to be removed from office."

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, served on the House Judiciary Committee staff during the Nixon impeachment. Later, she joined the judiciary committee as a congresswoman, serving during the Clinton impeachment and now Trump's.

Lofgren said the remarks by Graham and McConnell were concerning.

"Some of the things I'm hearing from the senators looks like they're trying to rig the trial. I think that's a serious problem for the country. But I think that's a problem for Trump as well," Lofgren told MSNBC on Monday.

"President Trump is hoping to be exonerated. He will not be exonerated if everyone knows he rigged the trial if they're not going to hear any evidence; [if] the senators announce they've already made up their minds, that they don't need to look at the facts.

"That doesn't clear the president if he's not convicted in the Senate. That's just a political endeavor to protect a man who's guilty of abusing his power."

Newsweek asked McConnell and Graham for comment by email and this article will be updated if one is provided.

The full House will vote this week on the two proposed articles of impeachment against Trump that were approved by the House Judiciary Committee. The articles are for abuse of power and obstruction and likely to be passed by the Democrat-controlled House.

The House Intelligence Committee laid out its case against Trump in a report compiled after an intense period of evidence-gathering, including testimony from key witnesses from inside the administration.

It concluded that Trump had conditioned the release of $391 million military aid and a White House visit for Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the public opening of spurious corruption investigations that would damage his domestic political rivals ahead of the 2020 election.

President Trump says he was legitimately pursuing concerns about corruption and wanted nothing from Ukraine in exchange for the investigations, which were not opened.

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Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing to receive counsel presentations of evidence on the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, December 9, 2019. JONATHAN ERNST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images