Lindsey Graham suggested Republicans will impeach Vice President Kamala Harris if the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives in 2022, after the South Carolina senator falsely claimed that she had paid bail for Black Lives Matter protesters who later “broke somebody’s head open”.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Mr Graham called Donald Trump’s impeachment trial “an affront to rule of law”, that had “opened Pandora’s Box to future presidents”.
He said: “And if you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House.”
The senator appeared to suggest that Republicans intended to retaliate against their perceived political enemies for impeaching Mr Trump.
On 1 June, VP Harris posted a link on Twitter to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which provides bail support for people who cannot afford to pay.
People who cannot afford to pay a full amount of bail typically must wait in jail until their trial or borrow money through a bail bondsman for their release. Judges set the conditions for bail.
Ms Harris – who had not yet been announced as Joe Biden’s running mate – posted a link to the organisation’s fundraising page as police arrested demonstrators protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“If you’re able to, chip in now to the [Minnesota Freedom Fund] to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” she said.
There is no evidence that the vice president bailed anyone out.
All but three of the 170 people arrested during the protests between 26 May and 2 June were released from jail within a week, according to accounting by the American Bail Coalition and Hennepin County jail records reviewed by The Washington Post.
Of the 167 people who were released, only ten individuals had to put up a monetary bond, and 92 per cent of the people who were arrested did not have to pay any amount of bail at all. Some 29 per cent of arrestees did not face any charges.
In July, the organisation paid bail for Lionel Timms, who was later charged with third-degree assault on 14 August after a person suffered a traumatic brain injury and a fractured skull. The arrests were not related to the protests.
In a statement, the group’s interim executive director Greg Lewin said: “We do not make determinations of bail support based on the crimes that individuals are alleged to have committed. We are, however, taking steps to strengthen our internal procedures for ensuring that those we bail out receive support, especially if they are in need of housing or medical treatment. Those processes involve renewing our commitment to listen to the communities directly impacted by our efforts, and ensuring those we bail out have the necessary support to safely return to their families and their community.”
Mr Graham’s comments follow Mr Trump’s acquittal on Saturday at his Senate impeachment trial. Lawmakers fell short of a two-thirds majority vote to secure a conviction despite a majority bipartisan vote that found him guilty for inciting the Capitol insurrection on 6 January.
The South Carolina senator said that Mr Trump’s months-long effort to undermine the 2020 election results with false claims of fraud was “politically protected speech” and that the former president bears no responsibility for the assault that sought to intimidate and attack lawmakers who convened to certify the votes.