A handful of House Republicans voted alongside Democrats earlier this month to make then-President Donald Trump the only commander in chief to be impeached twice.
As the Senate prepares to hear evidence in the trial against Trump, some reports indicate the chamber’s top Republican might actually be in favor of convicting the ex-president.
“In his political interest”
Earlier reports signaled that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) supported the second impeachment effort as a way to “purge” Trump from the GOP.
In a statement to CNN, an individual identified as a “Republican member of Congress” said that McConnell expressed a desire to rid D.C. politics of Trump for good.
“Mitch said to me he wants Trump gone,” the unnamed GOP lawmakers said. “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?”
For his part, McConnell has yet to confirm or deny the anonymous support, though it does seem in line with previous indications that he had turned on Trump following a violent riot on Capitol Hill earlier this month.
Unlike the first impeachment trial against Trump, McConnell has not spoken out publicly against the second attempt. House Democrats pushed the second impeachment article based on their belief that Trump incited the deadly breach of the Capitol building with his rhetoric at a rally in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6.
“Provoked by the president”
McConnell has not publicly stated which way he expects to vote in the trial phase of the impeachment proceedings, but he has apparently bought into the Democratic narrative that Trump bears some responsibility for the actions of his supporters.
“The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty,” the Senate GOP leaders said in remarks this week.
He went on to claim that the “mob was fed lies” and “provoked by the president and other powerful people” who “tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding in the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
In any case, McConnell appears to be in a tight spot as some in his party are pressuring him to back a Senate conviction while Trump supporters threaten his leadership position if he votes to convict.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has announced that she will deliver the latest article of impeachment to the Senate by Monday, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York confirmed the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. This gives McConnell a couple of weeks to choose a side.