Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has broken his silence on the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, telling colleagues in a note on Wednesday that he “has not made a final decision” on which way he will vote on the matter.
What are the details?
The Hill reported that according to an excerpt released by his office, McConnell wrote, “While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
The Republican leader’s statement comes the day after The New York Times reported that McConnell “has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing it will make it easier to purge [Trump] from the party.”
Following the House’s voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” over his actions and rhetoric surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob, McConnell issued a statement confirming earlier reports that he would not bring the Senate back in session prior to its scheduled Jan. 19 return—despite Democrats’ push for an emergency session ahead of Trump leaving office.
“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell wrote, explaining, “the Senate has held three presidential impeachment trials. They have lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively.”
“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week, and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office,” McConnell continued. “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact. The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency.”
McConnell led the GOP-controlled Senate’s successful quashing of House Democrats’ effort to remove Trump from office via impeachment last year, but the Republican leader has taken a different approach this time by not condemning impeachment as he did before.
Several GOP sources said on Tuesday that if McConnell supports conviction, Trump almost certainly will be convicted by 67 senators in the impeachment trial. “If Mitch is a yes, he’s done,” said one Senate GOP source who asked not to be named.
Many Republican senators are staying quiet about whether they’ll back conviction — a sign that they, too, could support conviction in an effort to rid Trump from their party.