McConnell votes for acquittal, however then says there’s ‘no query’ Trump is answerable for riot

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Minutes after voting “not responsible” in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stated the previous president is clearly accountable for the lethal Capitol riot.

“There is no query” that Trump “is virtually and morally answerable for frightening the occasions of the day,” McConnell stated simply after the Senate acquitted Trump of inciting the assault. “No query about it.”

However “the query is moot,” McConnell stated, as a result of as a former president, “Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction.”

“After intense reflection, I imagine one of the best constitutional studying reveals that Article 2 Part 4 exhausts the set of individuals who can legitimately be impeached, tried or convicted,” McConnell stated.

“It is the president, it is the vp, and civil officers. We now have no energy to convict a former workplace holder who’s now a non-public citizen,” he stated.

Whereas 57 out of 100 senators voted that Trump was responsible, the chamber fell in need of the two-thirds threshold required for conviction. Seven Republican senators joined with all Democrats and independents in voting to convict Trump.

The Home impeached Trump on Jan. 13, one week earlier than his single time period in workplace expired, on one article of “incitement of rebellion.” Democrats had heaped stress on McConnell, who was majority chief on the time, to shortly start trial proceedings earlier than Trump left the White Home. However the trial itself didn’t kick off till almost three weeks after President Joe Biden had been sworn in.

On Tuesday, 44 Republican senators, together with McConnell, voted that the Senate didn’t even have jurisdiction below the Structure to carry a trial for a former president.

However in his flooring speech after the vote, McConnell endorsed the view that “President Trump continues to be responsible for every little thing he did whereas he was in workplace.”

“He did not get away with something, but,” McConnell stated, noting that “we’ve got a prison justice system on this nation. We now have civil litigation. And former presidents usually are not immune from being [held] accountable by both one.”

McConnell, who has beforehand said that Trump provoked the mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, additionally pushed again on a number of the arguments made by Trump’s protection workforce in the course of the trial.

“The problem is just not solely the president’s intemperate language on January sixth,” McConnell stated, however “additionally your complete manufactured environment of looming disaster,” together with “the more and more wild myths of a landslide election that was one way or the other being stolen.”

Trump’s attorneys had argued at size that the previous president’s remarks at a pre-riot rally was run-of-the-mill political speech protected by the First Modification. However McConnell maintained that different examples of incendiary political rhetoric are “completely different from what we noticed” from Trump.

Earlier than McConnell took the ground, Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., railed in opposition to the Republicans who voted for acquittal.

“There was just one appropriate verdict on this trial: Responsible,” Schumer stated.

“This was about selecting nation over Donald Trump. And 43 Republican members selected Trump,” Schumer stated.