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Why Jerry Nadler Cited Lindsey Graham in His Opening Argument

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Washington, D.C. - Democratic impeachment manager Jerry Nadler surprised the Senate on Thursday by citing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in his opening argument in the impeachment trial against President Trump. The majority of Nadler's remarks were stale and academic. He offered an hour long interpretation of the framers' constitutional aims, and a recount of every impeachment trial that came before this one. 


One of the points that Nadler was trying to make - for those who were still awake - was that abuse of power did amount to an impeachable offense. That's when things got (mildly) interesting. He took his opportunity to quote Sen. Graham, who served as one of the impeachment managers during the impeachment trial against President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

"When you start using your office and you’re acting in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime," Graham said at the time.

In other words, Nadler concluded with the apparent assist from Graham, a high crime and misdemeanor is "not limited to violations of the criminal code." Trump's phone call with Ukraine, he said, fits the bill.

Having been in the room, I saw smirks and smiles on both sides of the aisle after Nadler played the vintage clip. I didn't have a view of Sen. Graham's chair, but according to other reporters in the room, the senator had already left the chamber before the video. Sen. Barrasso (R-WY), who sits next to Graham, patted his chair in jest.


Before he had a cameo in Nadler's argument, Sen. Graham praised lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff for the presentation he delivered on Wednesday. He also, however, said the American people weren't hearing the whole story. He urged the reporters in front of him to do more digging into the Bidens' ties to Ukraine.

The Democrats' case for impeachment resumes Friday at 1 p.m. The White House defense team will begin their rebuttal on Saturday.

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