Febraury 11, 2021
After voting “nay” on the constitutionality of the current impeachment trial on Monday, February 8, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell now is signaling to fellow Republicans that the final vote on former President Donald Trump’s guilt or innocence is matter of conscience, Bloomberg reports.
Indeed, McConnell made it clear that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president, according to three Bloomberg sources. The Kentucky Republican also has suggested that he hasn’t made up his mind how he’ll vote, two of the people said.
That position is starkly different than McConnell’s declaration at the start of Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when he said that that he did not consider himself an impartial juror.
However, Bloomberg notes, it’s highly unlikely that the Senate will convict Trump of the House’s single impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection, which cited the former president’s actions surrounding the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Conviction requires a two-thirds majority, which means at least 17 Republicans would have to vote with all Democrats in the 50-50 chamber.
Only six Republicans on Tuesday voted in favor of the constitutionality of the Senate process. While that was enough for the simple majority required to proceed with the trial, it suggests that most GOP senators don’t want to vote against Trump.
McConnell, in a leadership meeting Monday night, said the same things he has said publicly, a person familiar with the matter said.
On February 2, he told reporters: “We’re all going to listen to what the lawyers have to say and making the arguments and work our way through it.”
McConnell has been telling Republican senators since mid-January that this would be a “vote of conscience.”
Research contact: @business