Senate Leader Mitch McConnell faces tough decisions about how to handle the impeachment process against Donald Trump after tacitly backing Trump’s electoral fraud claims before finally denouncing him after the Capitol riot.
An article in the New Yorker examines McConnell’s tense relationship with Trump since the November election, suggesting the Kentucky Republican was desperate to prevent Trump from gaining support from the two GOP candidates in the Jan. 5 Senate second round.
“He knew he had to keep the Georgia team together,” a former Trump administration official close to the McConnell circle told the magazine. “For him, being the majority leader was all the game. It’s hard to exaggerate. It’s pretty clear to McConnell that one reason he was so indulgent to Trump was Georgia. ‘
After the Republicans lost both seats in Georgia and their majority in the Senate, at least 16 Republican senators would have to side with the Democrats to secure an impeachment of Trump.
McConnell was reluctant about how he will approach the trial, but a Republican insider told the New Yorker that Trump provoked the senator’s anger with a secret meeting in Mar-a-Lago to demand that Republican Senate candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue would support his unfounded election. fraud claims.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell faces tough decisions on how to address Donald Trump impeachment trial, and is reportedly outraged by Georgia run-offs
A Republican insider says Trump held a secret rally in Mar-a-Lago to demand Republican senatorial candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue to support his groundless electoral fraud claims
Loeffler and Perdue (seen above with Mike Pence) both lost their run-offs on January 5
Days before the second election, Trump forced Perdue to leave the campaign trail for a secret rally in Mar-a-Lago, said the insider, who called Trump a “ criminal. ”
Trump threatened to withhold his support of Loeffler and Perdue and refused to campaign for them unless they join his attacks on Georgian election officials, the insider said.
At the Mar-a-Lago rally, the person said, Trump not only demanded support for his allegations of electoral fraud, but pressured Purdue to back his demand for $ 2,000 in individual stimulus vouchers, an amount McConnell rejected.
Some political observers told the magazine that they expected McConnell to avoid condemning Trump for fear of splitting the Republican Party.
Stuart Stevens, a founder of the anti-Trump Republican group Lincoln Project, claimed McConnell is “ trying to get it both ways. ”
He absolutely does not want to impeach and condemn Trump. It would split his base and cause members of his caucus to face primary challengers, ” Stevens told the magazine.
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Trump threatened to withhold his support for Loeffler and Perdue and refused to campaign for them unless they join his attacks on Georgian election officials, an insider said.
Other observers are not so sure and believe McConnell will take the opportunity to clear Trump from the party and prevent him from fleeing in 2024.
I think he sees an opportunity to make Trump this generation’s version of Nixon, leaving no doubt who is at the top of Republican hope, said Al Cross, a veteran political reporter and the director of Nixon. the Institute for Rural Journalism, at the university. from Kentucky, McConnell said
Jim Manley, who served as senior communications adviser to Harry Reid, the former Democratic majority leader, pointed to McConnell’s statement that Trump “ provoked ” the Capitol crowd as a signal of definitive split.
‘There is no turning back now. He has decided to limit his losses and do everything he can to ensure that Trump is no longer a threat to the Republican Party, ” Manley told the New Yorker.
Trump is the first president to be impeached twice and the first to face trial after his term in office.
The charge this time is “inciting violence against the United States government.” His impeachment attorney will be Butch Bowers.
Some observers think McConnell will seize the opportunity to clear Trump from the party and prevent him from fleeing in 2024 by encouraging a conviction in the Senate process.
The opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of February 8. House Democrats who voted last week to impeach Trump for instigating the storming of the Capitol say a full bill is needed before the country – and Congress – can move forward.
For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election results, urging them to come to the Capitol on January 6 to protest Biden’s victory.
Trump spoke to the crowd at the White House shortly before they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill.
‘We will never give up. We will never give in. It’s not happening, ”Trump said. ‘You don’t give in when there is theft. Our country has had enough. We don’t take it anymore. ‘
He later said, “If you don’t fight hard, you won’t have any land.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to make your voice heard “peacefully and patriotic.”
Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fueling the violence, saying days after the attack, “People thought what I said was absolutely right.”
Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and is not evidence, the Senate can consider anything.