- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is leaning towards voting to convict President Donald Trump to remove him from office, Axios reported on Tuesday night.
- McConnell believes that Trump has committed multiple impeachable offences and is “pleased” at the idea of him being impeached, according to The New York Times.
- The Kentucky Republican thinks that Trump being impeached and then potentially convicted and removed from office by the US Senate “will make it easier to purge him from the party,” The Times said.
- McConnell, once one of Trump’s most powerful allies, now reportedly plans to never speak to him again in the wake of Wednesday’s deadly insurrection at the US Capitol.
- On Wednesday, McConnell said that he hasn’t yet “made a final decision” on whether to vote in favour of Trump’s impeachment, adding, “I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is said to be talking to GOP colleagues about whether he should ask Trump to resign, per The Times.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “better than a 50-50 chance” of voting to convict President Donald Trump and remove him from office, Axios reported on Tuesday night.
McConnell believes Trump has committed multiple impeachable offences and is “pleased” at the idea of Trump being impeached and removed from office, The New York Times also reported earlier in the day.
The Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote on impeaching Trump on a charge of inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol on Wednesday. This would make Trump the first president in American history to be impeached twice.
McConnell thinks that Trump being impeached and then potentially convicted and ousted from office by the US Senate “will make it easier to purge him from the party,” The Times said, citing people familiar with his thinking.
His potential vote to convict, however, isn’t a done deal yet. “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,” McConnell said on Wednesday.
A vote from McConnell to convict Trump for incitement would not only represent a stunning break in the top ranks of the GOP, but also give the members of McConnell’s caucus more freedom to vote to convict the president, if they so decide.
McConnell has been one of Trump’s most steadfast allies who stood by the embattled president during his first Senate impeachment trial in January and February 2020. Now, however, the pair appear to be on the outs.
Trump and McConnell have reportedly not spoken since mid-December, when McConnell publicly acknowledged Trump’s election loss in a December 15 speech on the Senate floor and congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory. McConnell reportedly plans to never speak to Trump again over his role in inciting violence at the Capitol as well as his lack of leadership in responding to the insurrection.
In addition to the Capitol siege, The Times said that McConnell blames Trump for Republicans losing two critical Senate seats in Georgia in the dual January 5 runoff elections, which not only cost Republicans control of the upper chamber but personally cost McConnell his job as Senate majority leader.
McConnell wants to fully review the article of impeachment the House plans to vote on before taking a public position on impeachment or censure, but he wants to do some damage to Trump’s career prospects on his way out the door, according to The Times.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, for his part, is personally opposed to impeachment but is open to the idea of formally censuring Trump in Congress, the Times reported. He has talked to colleagues about asking Trump to resign from office before his term ends on January 20.
Unlike during Trump’s first House impeachment trial in December 2019, McCarthy has not “whipped” his caucus against voting for impeachment. Up to a dozen House Republicans could vote to impeach Trump, The Times said.
Also on Tuesday afternoon, GOP Rep. John Katko of New York became the first House Republican to publicly come out in favour of impeaching Trump. Katko is one of just a few Republicans representing a congressional district won by both Biden in 2020 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Last week, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first Republican lawmaker to publicly state his support for Vice President Mike Pence invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. He was followed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska urging Trump to resign.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” said Murkowski, the first GOP senator to make such a request of the president.
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