WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not ruled out that he could possibly vote to condemn the President Donald Trump is now impeached twice, but he also blocked a swift Senate impeachment trial.
Minutes after the House voted on Wednesday 232-197 to impeach Trump, McConnell said in a letter to his GOP colleagues that he was not determined whether Trump should be convicted in future Senate deliberations. House articles of impeachment accuse Asset incited to insurgency by urging supporters who violently attacked the Capitol last week, resulting in five deaths and a disruption of Congress.
“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented in the Senate,” McConnell wrote.
McConnell’s openness contrasted starkly with the support, or at times the silence, he displayed during much of Trump’s presidency, and the opposition he quickly voiced when the House impeached Trump there. at 13 months. McConnell will be Washington’s most powerful Republican once Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, and McConnell’s increasingly cold take on Trump could make it easier for other GOP lawmakers to turn on him.
McConnell’s nascent alienation from Trump, as well as the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him, underscored how the GOP’s long reflective support and endorsement of Trump’s actions was eroding. .
McConnell also released a statement saying Congress and the government should spend next week “completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power” to Biden. He suggested that Trump’s Senate trial would not begin until Jan. 19 – in effect rejecting the will of House Democrats to immediately begin proceedings so that Trump can be removed from office.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said unless McConnell reverses and agrees to start the trial quickly, it will begin after Jan.19. Senate control. The timeline essentially means McConnell is dropping the trial in Democrats’ towers.
“Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the US Senate,” Schumer said. He added: “If the president is convicted, there will be a vote on the ban on running again.”
The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to convict a president, which means at least 17 Republicans would have to join the 50 Democrats to oust Trump. If Trump were convicted, it would only take a simple Senate majority to bar Trump, who has mentioned running again in 2024, from taking federal office again.
Earlier Wednesday, a GOP strategist said McConnell had told people he believed Trump had committed uneasy offenses. McConnell also saw the House Democrats’ drive to impeach Trump as an opportune time to move the GOP away from the tumultuous and divisive incumbent president, according to the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.
McConnell’s opinions were first reported by The New York Times.
McConnell spoke with major Republican donors last weekend to assess their thinking on Trump and were told they believed Trump had clearly crossed a line, the strategist said. McConnell told them he was done with Trump, according to the consultant.
The Democratic-led House approved impeachment article accusing Trump of inciting insurgency, an unprecedented second indictment of his boisterous presidency. Trump urged a crowd of his supporters to march on Capitol Hill last Wednesday, where they disrupted Congressional official certification of Biden’s victory in a deadly riot that caused widespread damage.
McConnell is looking to his party’s long-term future, but moving towards a political divorce from Trump could mean Congressional Republicans face challenges in the GOP primaries.
It’s unclear how many Republicans would vote to convict Trump in a Senate trial, but it seems plausible that several are.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told Alaska’s News Source, an Anchorage media outlet, on Wednesday that Trump “had committed an impenetrable offense.” She stopped before saying if she would vote to condemn him.
Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Said he would “definitely consider” the House impeachment articles.
To complicate the GOP’s thinking on Trump’s second impeachment, Republicans will defend 20 of the 34 Senate seats to be elected in 2022. Thanks to Democratic victories this month in two rounds in Georgia, Democrats are on course to take control of the house at 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting decisive votes.
Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., spoke out against impeachment on Wednesday. A once bitter foe of Trump, Graham became one of his closest allies during his presidency, then blasted him during the Capitol invasion last week, but has since spent time with Trump.
Impeaching Trump now “would do great damage to government institutions and could spark further violence,” Graham said in a statement. did not specifically defend Trump’s actions last week.
“If there was a time for America’s political leaders to bend one knee and seek God’s guidance and direction, now is. The most important thing leaders need to do in times of crisis is make it better, not make it worse, ”Graham said.
When the Senate voted against Trump’s impeachment in February after the House impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to provide political filth to Biden, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said was the only Republican to vote to oust him.
Trump falsely insisted that the November presidential election was stolen from him by fraud. These claims were dismissed by officials from both sides, state and federal courts, and members of his own administration.
Lisa Mascaro, PA Congress correspondent, contributed to this report.