Graham backs Trump: 'This is a lynching in every sense'
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said President Trump is absolutely right to call the House impeachment process a "lynching."
"This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American," Graham said to reporters.
"I've never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody is accused of a major misconduct who cannot confront the accuser, call witnesses on their behalf and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge," he said.
Graham made his comments after Trump caused a firestorm by tweeting that the House impeachment inquiry is a "lynching." Graham backed up the president, saying, "I think that's pretty well accurate."
"I think lynching is being seen as somebody taking the law in their own hands and out to get somebody for no good reason," he said.
Asked if he could understand why African Americans would be offended by the comparison, Graham stood his ground.
"Yes, African Americans have [been] lynched. Other people have been lynched throughout history. What does lynching mean? That a mob grabs you, they don't give you a chance to defend yourself, they don't tell you what happened to you, they just destroy you. That's exactly what's happening in the United States House of Representatives right now," he said.
"In every sense, this is a mob taking over the rule of law. This is fundamentally un-American and until it changes, I will fight back as hard as I can," he said of House Democrats.
Graham later clarified that he was comparing the House inquiry to a "political lynching."
He also argued that the media wouldn't be offended if the word was used to describe Republicans running an investigation into a Democrat president.
"If Republicans were doing this you would be okay with calling it a political lynching because that's literally what it is," he said.
Pressed that the inquiry wasn't literally a lynching he turned to a reporter and asked, "Do you get what's going on?"
"What's happened to your business? If we as Republicans took a Democratic president and did this to them you would not be so offended by the word," he said.
When a reporter noted that lynching was a literal term, he chided them saying, "give me a little credit for understanding that nobody is saying they're trying to kill the president."
"[But] impeachment is the death penalty for a politician," he said.
Graham's comments reflect the escalating rhetoric and rising tensions surrounding the impeachment process, which were punctuated Tuesday by Trump's Tuesday morning tweet.
"So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights," the president tweeted. "All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!"
The tweet drew an immediate backlash from black lawmakers, such as House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who said, "I really believe this man is prone to inflammatory statements, and that is one word no president ought to apply to himself. "
Graham, however, said House Democrats are more guilty of bad behavior by conducting an impeachment inquiry without a formal vote that would give House Republicans more power to defend the president and Trump's legal team the ability to call witnesses.
"If this continues in the House, it's a complete sham and I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn't live very long in the Senate," Graham said.
"If the shoe were on the other foot, if a Democratic president was going through a process like this created by the Republican majority in the House, the American media would be blowing up right now," he added.