Mitch McConnell Will Vote To Acquit Trump In Second Impeachment Trial
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to vote to acquit Donald Trump of his ‘incitement of insurrection’ charges in the ongoing impeachment trial.
Trump’s second impeachment trial began earlier this week, when the former president’s legal team offered arguments in an attempt to counter the Democrats’ push for impeachment.
In order for Trump to be impeached, 17 Republicans will need to turn against the former leader alongside every Democrat, though many have already indicated plans to stand by Trump.
Among those showing their support is McConnell, who has reportedly told his colleagues that he will vote to acquit, according to a source familiar with the conversations cited by CNN.
The GOP leader largely remained silent about whether he would consider convicting Trump until this morning, February 13, when he shared his decision in a note to fellow Republican senators.
According to Politico, the note read:
While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction.
The Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House.
McConnell added that he continues to view the verdict as a ‘vote of conscience’, but says he shared shared his choice because his colleagues have been directly asking how he’ll vote.
His decision comes in spite of the fact that he blamed Trump for the Capitol riots last month, saying the ‘mob was fed lies’ and that protestors were ‘provoked by the president and other powerful people’.
It is thought the revelation of McConnell’s plans will likely sway a number of other Republicans to vote the same way due to the fact he is the chamber’s most influential Republican and the longest-serving GOP leader ever.
John Feehery, a former top congressional GOP aide, told Associated Press that ‘any political leader has to tread carefully’ due to the ‘overwhelming number of Republican voters’ who wanted to see Trump acquitted. He acknowledged that while McConnell was evidently angry about the Capitol riots, the leader is ‘trying to keep his party together’.
When the trial began on Tuesday, McConnell was among 44 GOP senators who declared the impeachment trial unconstitutional on the grounds that Trump was no longer president. Only six Republicans voted for the trial to go ahead, suggesting the Democrats will struggle to secure 17 of votes from the opposing party.
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