According to a new report in The New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — whose role will soon switch to Senate Minority Leader following Democratic victories in Georgia — is “pleased” that Democrats have launched a second round of impeachment proceedings against outgoing President Donald Trump. House Democrats launched these proceedings after Trump helped incite a riot at the U.S. Capitol building, which is connected to at least five deaths and threatened the safety and lives of members of Congress. Prominent Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) have publicly condemned Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol rampage and called for his immediate exit from power.
According to the Times, 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 that it will make it easier to purge him from the party.” Before the riot unfolded, McConnell already established his opposition to a Republican plan to object to some of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes when Congress met to certify the numbers. Now, McConnell “has made clear in private discussions that he believes now is the moment to move on from the weakened lame duck, whom he blames for causing Republicans to lose the Senate,” the Times says.
The Times also reports that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the top Republican in the U.S. House, “has asked other Republicans whether he should call on Mr. Trump to resign in the aftermath of the riot.” Additionally, in the aftermath of the riot and as Democrats prepare a vote on impeaching Trump for Wednesday, GOP leaders “have decided not to formally lobby Republicans” to vote against the measure. The House impeachment effort “is expected to draw support from as many as a dozen Republicans,” the Times says, and those supporting the effort will include Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), the third highest-ranking Republican in the House.
No matter Trump’s refusal to accept responsibility for inciting the riot at the Capitol, his role in the events is obvious. At an outdoor event in D.C. shortly before the riot, Trump told his supporters that “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” — and then some of them marched to the Capitol, where, among other developments, the mob attacked police officers, one of whom died of his injuries.