Minutes after the “not guilty” vote in Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Said the former president was clearly responsible for the deadly Capitol riot.
“There is no question that Trump” is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day, “said McConnell shortly after the Senate acquitted Trump of instigating the attack.” No question. “
But “the question is contentious,” said McConnell, because Trump, as a former president, “has no constitutional right to convict”.
“After much deliberation, I believe that the best reading of the Constitution shows that Article 2 Section 4 exhausts the group of people who can lawfully be tried, tried or convicted,” McConnell said.
“It’s the president, it’s the vice-president and civil servants. We have no power to convict a former incumbent who is now a private individual,” he said.
While 57 out of 100 senators found Trump guilty, the chamber fell below the two-thirds threshold required for a conviction. Seven Republican senators, along with all Democrats and Independents, voted to condemn Trump.
The House indicted Trump on January 13, a week before the end of his term in office, of an article on “incitement to rebellion.” The Democrats had pressured McConnell, who was the majority leader at the time, to quickly open a lawsuit before Trump left the White House. However, the trial itself didn’t begin until nearly three weeks after President Joe Biden was sworn in.
On Tuesday, 44 Republican Senators, including McConnell, voted that the Senate was constitutionally not even responsible for conducting a trial against a former president.
However, in his post-vote speech, McConnell endorsed the view that “President Trump is still liable for everything he did during his tenure”.
“He hasn’t gotten away with anything yet,” McConnell said, noting, “we have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil trials. And former presidents are not immune to being.” [held] accountable by both. “
McConnell, who previously stated that Trump provoked the crowd of his supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, also pushed back some of the arguments made by Trump’s defense team during the trial.
“The problem is not just the moderate language spoken by the president on Jan. 6,” McConnell said, “but the whole atmosphere of impending disaster,” including “the increasingly fierce myths of a landslide election that was somehow stolen.”
Trump’s lawyers had argued extensively that what the former president had said at a pre-insurrection rally was an ordinary political speech protected by the First Amendment. McConnell argued, however, that other examples of cutting-edge political rhetoric “are different from what we’ve seen” than Trump.
Before McConnell spoke, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., railed against the Republicans who voted in favor of the acquittal.
“There was only one correct judgment in this process: guilty,” said Schumer.
“This was about electing a country before Donald Trump. And 43 Republican members voted for Trump,” said Schumer.