The House impeached Trump last week in a bipartisan vote, with 10 Republicans joining all Democrats. After the House vote, McConnell signaled to fellow Republicans he was open to conviction, even as some GOP senators questioned whether the Constitution allows the Senate to bring a former president to justice.
Several Republicans have also criticized the president’s rhetoric, particularly his speech on the morning of the January 6 riots in which he repeated his false allegations of electoral fraud and continued to insist, without evidence, that the election had him been “stolen”. Even many House Republicans who opposed Trump’s impeachment said his posture was “reckless,” and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the president was responsible for the attack. from the Capitol.
McConnell did little to help or defend the president in the wake of the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol. Last year, McConnell vigorously defended the president ahead of his first impeachment trial and said there was “no chance” Trump would be removed from office. This time around, he’s keeping an open mind, raising the possibility that the Senate will reach the two-thirds threshold required to convict the president and force him to vote to keep him out of federal office in the future.
A Senate conviction would require the support of all 50 Democrats plus at least 17 Republicans.
Even before the mob stormed the Capitol, McConnell was vigorously opposed to Trump-backed efforts to oppose Electoral College certifications from a handful of swing states where Biden has won. In the end, eight GOP senators and more than 130 House members opposed a voters list – even after the Capitol was violently desecrated. The objections went nowhere, however, and the House and Senate certified Biden’s victory.
“We stood united and said that an angry mob would not get a veto over the rule of law in our country, not even for one night,” McConnell added Tuesday. “We have certified the people’s choice for their 46th president.”
McConnell initially defended Trump’s right to challenge election results in individual states, referring to the president’s long-term lawsuits. But those legal challenges eventually collapsed in court, prompting Republicans to acknowledge that Biden would indeed be sworn in on January 20.
Senator Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), the new majority leader, insisted that despite Pelosi’s delay, the Senate would soon hold an impeachment trial. He said Trump should never be in office again.
Schumer and other top Democrats have sought to focus the first days of their Senate majority on staffing Biden’s cabinet and taking additional relief measures for Covid-19 in addition to holding a an impeachment trial, although this may prove difficult given the overall nature of the trial. process.