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Here’s what it would take for Lindsey Graham to vote to impeach Trump

It's not the potential campaign finance violation

Sen. Lindsey Graham drew a bright line on moving to impeach President Donald Trump: If the special counsel uncovered evidence that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, and Trump knew about it, that’d be “it” for him, he told VICE News Thursday night. The South Carolina Republican, a vocal supporter and frequent golf partner of the president, was asked to affirm his stance on impeachment when an old clip made the rounds on social media after Trump’s former campaign chairman was found guilty on eight of 18 criminal counts, and after Michael Cohen implicated Trump when he pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating campaign finance laws and other crimes.


“Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office,” Graham said in the clip from 1999, when he was arguing for the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton. The clip was posted to Twitter by MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell. “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic,” Graham said at the time. When asked whether that Clinton-era sentiment still applies to Trump, Graham said it does, and “finally somebody is listening.” “If Mueller finds some evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians where he knew or should’ve known, that would be probably it for me,” Graham told VICE News. “Other stuff, not so much.” The violations of campaign finance laws by handing out hush money to women who said they had a sexual relationship with Trump, however, isn’t likely to change many minds, Graham said. Talk of impeachment has quietly accelerated in the aftermath of Cohen implicating Trump in the potential felony of the hush-money payment to protect his candidacy. Still, Democrats have largely avoided using the I-word, instead saying that the party should allow Robert Mueller’s investigation to play out.

Trump’s already going on the offensive to try to stop the impeachment chatter: In a “Fox & Friends” Thursday interview, he said that if he were impeached, “everybody would be very poor.”