McConnell Turns Against Trump As Impeachment Trial Approaches

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Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is apparently sick of ex-President Donald Trump. McConnell supported many of the Trump administration’s moves while the ex-president was in power — and while he was Senate Majority Leader — but in the aftermath of Trump’s deranged fight against the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, the top Republican has singled out the ex-president for rather unequivocal criticism. Recently, McConnell publicly insisted that rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 were “provoked by the President and other powerful people,” and now, as the Senate prepares for Trump’s second impeachment trial, McConnell privately says that he “wants Trump gone,” according to a Republican member of Congress who CNN did not publicly identify.

That Republican member of Congress commented as follows to CNN:

‘Mitch said to me he wants Trump gone. It is in his political interest to have him gone. It is in the GOP interest to have him gone. The question is, do we get there?’

Only 10 House Republicans voted in favor of the recent second impeachment of Trump, although a number of other House Republicans notably did not launch much of an actual defense of the now ex-president’s actions. Instead, a selection of those who spoke out complained that a second Trump impeachment would supposedly undercut “unity” in the country, although without accountability for the incitement of a violent insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol, actual unity might not be much of an option. House Democrats launched the second Trump impeachment after he helped incite the rioting.

Arguments in Trump’s impending Senate trial, which follows impeachment, are slated to begin on February 9, although the House will formally transmit the article of impeachment that they passed against Trump to the Senate on Monday. It’s not clear what the final outcome might actually be at the end of the upcoming trial — Republican Senators including Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, and Mitt Romney have all condemned the ex-president in the wake of his fight against the election outcome, and, among other expressions of outrage, Murkowski and Toomey even supported Trump’s exit from office prior to the scheduled end of his term. In the event that McConnell decides to support a conviction of Trump out of concern to protect the stature of the GOP or anything else, other Senate Republicans could follow suit.