Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted not to convict former Donald Trump of a single impeachment count on Saturday, but it wasn’t because he believed the former president to be innocent.
He didn’t support impeachment because he did not believe holding a Senate impeachment trial for a former president who had already left office was constitutional.
Guess we should be grateful, then, that the Senate’s highest-ranking Republican still believes in the sanctity of our founding document. That’s something, at least.
Following the Senate vote to acquit, in which seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats (who always seem to vote as a bloc, by the way), McConnell couldn’t help but amble to the well of the chamber to castigate the most castigated, investigated, and ‘Russiagated’ president in the history of our country.
“There’s no question… that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said during a 20-minute floor speech.
“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth,” the Kentucky Republican droned on.
“These criminals were carrying his banners. Hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him. It was obvious that only President Trump could end this,” he continued. “Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the administration. The president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job… Instead according to public reports he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded, kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election.”
All that said, McConnell noted further that but for the Constitution, a conviction might have happened.
“I believe the best constitutional reading shows that Article II, Section 4 exhausts the set of persons who can legitimately be impeached, tried or convicted,” he said. “It’s the president, the vice president and civil officers. We have no power to convict and disqualify a former officeholder who is now a private citizen.”
But that doesn’t mean that our ex-president is out of the woods yet, however, as McConnell appeared hopeful, even, that criminal proceedings could yet ensnare Trump.
“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while in office,” said McConnell. “He didn’t get away with anything yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation.”
He could have been referencing a criminal investigation that has been launched by Georgia prosecutors who believe Trump violated state laws when he asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to ‘beat’ Joe Biden. Time will tell, but it’s not like Trump hasn’t been pursued legally since he took office (New York comes to mind).
Donald Trump Jr. wasn’t having any, however.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, he blasted the Republicans who voted to acquit his father for lacking “guts” and “balls” while also singling out McConnell.
If only McConnell was so righteous as the Democrats trampled Trump and the Republicans while pushing Russia collusion bullshit for 3 years or while Dems incited 10 months of violence, arson, and rioting. Yea then he just sat back and did jack shit.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 13, 2021
If only McConnell was so righteous as the Democrats trampled Trump and the Republicans while pushing Russia collusion bulls**t for 3 years or while Dems incited 10 months of violence, arson, and rioting,” he wrote on Twitter. “Yea then he just sat back and did jack s**t.”
Yeah, that sounds accurate.