Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has told fellow Republicans that he will vote to acquit former President Donald Trump for inciting riots at the U.S. Capitol last month. McConnell does not believe that the Senate has the jurisdiction to try the case.
“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal, and we, therefore, lack jurisdiction,” McConnell said, according to the Daily Mail.
McConnell, the usually tight-lipped Republican leader, denounced the violence at the Capitol last month and directly blamed Trump for inciting the insurrection. He said “the mob was fed lies” and were “provoked by the President and other powerful people.”
However, Republicans have already indicated they would acquit Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection. Democrats will need to sway 17 Republican senators to join every member of their party to convict; only about six have indicated they will vote in favor of conviction.
Democratic impeachment managers have thrown a wrench into the impeachment proceedings by expressing that they want to call GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Butler for testimony. The announcement drew immediate ire from Trump’s attorney, Michael van der Deen,
“If they want to have witnesses, I’m going to need at least 100 depositions. Not just one,” he said, threatening to drag out the trial. van der Deen noted that he would like to hold the depositions in his Philadelphia office, which drew laughter around the chamber.
On what was supposed to be the day that closing arguments began in the impeachment trial, it appears we might have to wait a bit longer to learn the former President’s fate.