Impeachment momentum could be growing in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told confidants that he believes President Trump crossed the line when he inspired a mob to go to Capitol Hill, touching off a violent siege.
Multiple outlets reported Tuesday night reported that McConnell is pleased with the impeachment effort and is “furious” with Trump and blames the president for Republican losses in the Senate that will narrowly give control of the chamber to Democrats.
Aides to McConnell’s office have not denied the reports on the record. Fox News host Sean Hannity, though, threw cold water on the reporting on his show Tuesday night, indicating that McConnell may not necessarily vote to convict Trump when the Senate takes up the impeachment charges.
“We did speak to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office tonight,” Hannity said. “They said no, there is no conclusions that have been made. And there’s a lot of salacious nonsense in this.”
McConnell’s private endorsement of the effort gives a green light for a segment of Republicans to vote in favor of convicting Trump on the “incitement of insurrection” impeachment article that is expected to pass the House on Wednesday, though no Republican senator has confirmed a “yes” vote on the charge. While some Republicans, such as South Carolina Sens. Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott, have said that they oppose the effort, many are remaining silent. At least 17 Republicans would have to vote to convict Trump to reach the constitutionally mandated two-thirds threshold to convict Trump, potentially barring him from holding federal public office.
Among the likeliest Republicans to vote to impeach Trump are Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Romney was the only Republican senator to vote in favor of convicting Trump on an article of impeachment last year.
Sasse indicated openness to impeachment last week. “The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because, as I’ve told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” he said. Toomey also said last week that he believes Trump committed “impeachable offenses.”
Following the Capitol siege, Murkowski called on Trump to resign: “I want him out.”
Because Trump will leave office on Jan. 20 and the Senate is not set to resume until Tuesday, it is likely that the Senate will only consider impeachment after Trump has left office.
McConnell has reportedly not spoken to Trump since mid-December, but he spoke on the phone with President-elect Joe Biden on Monday to discuss whether it will be possible for the Senate to split its time between considering impeachment articles and other matters such as Cabinet confirmations and the priorities of the new administration.
Author : Emily Brooks
Source : Washington Examiner : Private McConnell scorn of Trump may pave way for GOP senators to vote to convict on impeachment