Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly told associates President Donald Trump committed impeachable acts and is done defending him.
According to The New York Times on Tuesday, McConnell has told people he is pleased Democrats have moved to impeach the president because it will make it easier to rid Trump from the Republican Party.
The Hill reported McConnell told friends he has not spoken to Trump since December, and was no longer defending him.
“He’s genuinely furious about what happened last week and what led up to it,” a GOP source told The Hill about McConnell’s anger over the storming of the Capitol.
Shortly before demonstrators attacked the Capitol to protest the election results, McConnell gave a speech that broke from Trump, who alleged voter fraud in several key battleground states resulted in Joe Biden winning the election.
The House will vote Wednesday to formally charge Trump with inciting violence against the country. McConnell has not revealed whether or not he would vote to convict Trump on an article of impeachment, according to The Hill’s Senate Republican sources.
A majority of House Republicans were expected to oppose impeachment, and it also is likely a majority of Senate Republicans would vote to acquit Trump in a trial, per the report.
McConnell voting to convict Trump was unlikely under those circumstances, but sources said it could not be ruled out.
At the very start of the first impeachment proceedings against Trump in 2019-20, McConnell made clear he viewed the effort purely a political exercise without any solid basis. This time, he is not doing that.
“I don’t know if he ultimately supports it or he doesn’t support it,” the source said. “Part of it probably depends on what case and what articles House Democrats ultimately place on their desk in the Senate.
“He doesn’t see this as a political exercise. It may very well warrant that kind of action.”
Sources told The Hill there was a question whether McConnell would even make an effort to help form Trump’s Senate defense team.
With Senate in recess until Tuesday, that is the earliest House impeachment managers can present the article of impeachment to the Senate.
The soonest a Senate trial could begin is Jan. 20, after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office, according to a memo McConnell gave colleagues Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday called on McConnell to reconvene the Senate immediately to allow an impeachment trial to proceed as soon as the House passes an article of impeachment. As of Tuesday afternoon, McConnell had not responded publicly to Schumer’s statement.
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