Dear Friend:

Given the serious nature of presidential impeachments, I wanted you to know that yesterday I voted to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment. 

First, I am glad the Senate soundly rejected impeachment.

The articles of impeachment represent an assault on the presidency itself and the weaponization of impeachment as a political tool. 

I also believe that the impeachment effort was driven by a level of partisanship and ‘Ends Justify the Means’ behavior the American people have rejected.

The proper way to end this matter was a vote to acquit and allow the American people to vote for or against President Trump in November – not to remove him from office and prevent him from running for reelection. 

Finally, my speech yesterday on the Senate floor is available online.

I have also detailed my views below for those who want additional information about what went into my thought process before I cast this important vote.   


Lindsey O. Graham
United States Senator


I feel compelled to condemn the impeachment process used in the House of Representatives because I believe it was devoid of basic, fundamental due process.

This impeachment was completed within 78 days and had a spirit of partisanship and revenge that, if accepted by the Senate, would lead to the weaponization of impeachment against future presidents.

In the House of Representatives:
  • President Trump was entirely shut out of the evidence gathering stage in the House Intelligence Committee.
  • President Trump was denied the right to counsel, right to cross-examine, and right to call witnesses.
  • Much of the evidence gathered against President Trump by the House Intelligence Committee consisted of inadmissible hearsay.
  • The House Judiciary Committee Impeachment hearings were, for lack of a better term, a sham.

More importantly, during the Senate trial the House managers admitted the reason they did not seek testimony from President Trump’s closest advisers – former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney – was because it would have required them to go to court and slowed their effort to impeach President Trump before the presidential election began.

It was a calculated decision to deal the courts out of President Trump’s impeachment inquiry due to a political timetable.

With yesterday's Senate vote to acquit President Trump, I hope the Senate has sent a clear message that this should never, ever happen again.


As to the substance of the allegations against President Trump: 

The Obstruction of Congress article is literally impeaching the President because he chose to follow the advice of the White House Counsel, the Department of Justice and was willing to use constitutional privileges in a manner consistent with every other president.

This article should be soundly rejected, not only in this case, but also in the future. Whether one likes President Trump or not, he is the president and has privileges attached to his office. To impeach him for exercising those privileges is unprecedented.

The Abuse of Power article of impeachment is beyond vague, does not allege criminal misconduct, and requires the Senate to engage in a subjective analysis of President Trump’s motives and actions. It also represents an existential threat to the presidency.

The House managers argued the sole and exclusive purpose of freezing aid to Ukraine was for the private, political benefit of President Trump. It is clear to me that there is ample evidence that the actions of Hunter Biden and Vice President Biden were inappropriate and undercut American foreign policy.

Moreover, there was evidence in the record that officials in Ukraine were actively speaking against candidate Trump and were pulling for former Secretary of State Clinton. Based on the overwhelming amount of evidence of inappropriate behavior by the Bidens and statements by State Department officials about certain Ukrainians’ beliefs that one American candidate would be better than the other would, I found it eminently reasonable for the President to be concerned about corruption in Ukraine, election interference, and the behavior of Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter.

It remains hard for me to believe that Vice President Biden was an effective messenger for reform efforts in Ukraine while his son Hunter was receiving $3 million from Burisma, one of Ukraine’s most corrupt companies.

It is obvious to me that after the Mueller Report, President Trump viewed the House impeachment inquiry as a gross double standard when it comes to investigations. The House launched an investigation into his phone call with President Zelensky. At the same time, the House showed no interest in the actions of Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden.

The President, in my view, was justified in asking the Ukrainians to look into the circumstances surrounding the firing of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, and whether his termination benefited Hunter Biden and Burisma.

It is clear to me that the phone call focused on burden sharing, corruption, and election interference in an appropriate manner. The most vexing question was how President Trump was supposed to deal with these legitimate concerns.


The House managers suggest that President Trump could not have asked the Attorney General to investigate these concerns because that would be equivalent to President Trump asking for an investigation of a political rival. However, in the next moment, the House managers declare the proper way for President Trump to deal with those allegations would have been to ask the Attorney General to investigate.

They cannot have it both ways. 

I believe that it is fair to criticize President Trump’s over-reliance on his private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to investigate alleged corruption and conflicts of interest regarding the Bidens and Burisma. However, I do not find this to be a remotely impeachable offense and believe it would be beneficial for the country to find other ways to deal with such matters in the future.


Assuming the facts – in the light most favorable to the House managers – that for a period of time the aid was suspended by President Trump to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and election interference, I find both articles fail as impeachable offenses.

I find this to be the case even if we assume additional facts from Mr. Bolton are accurate.

The simple fact is the Ukrainians received the military aid and did not open the requested investigation.

The allegations contained in this impeachment are not what the Founding Fathers had in mind as high crimes or misdemeanors. Our Founding Fathers, in my view, envisioned serious, criminal misconduct that would shake the foundation of the American constitutional system.

The Nixon Impeachment had broad, bipartisan support once the facts were revealed. The Clinton Impeachment started with bipartisan support in the House and ended with bipartisan support in the Senate, even though it fell well short of the two-thirds vote required to remove a president.

I hope my decision to vote not guilty on both articles of impeachment is seen as a rejection of WHAT the House of Representatives did and HOW they did it. 

To remove a President from office requires conduct that shakes the very foundation of our constitutional system. 

This impeachment effort fell far short of that high standard.