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McConnell Privately Backs Impeachment as House Moves to Charge Trump

  • January 13, 2021

After whipping votes to ensure Mr. Trump was not found guilty in the impeachment trial last year, Mr. McConnell has turned sharply against Mr. Trump. Last week, in a memo to Senate Republicans, he indicated it would be difficult to hold a trial before Jan. 20, but notably did not defend the president.

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Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called on Mr. McConnell to use emergency powers to call the Senate back for a trial as soon as the articles were adopted.

“The bottom line is that Leader McConnell has the ability to call us back into session and we can then move to convict Donald Trump, draw on the impeachment trial and try him,” Mr. Schumer told reporters in New York. “And that’s what we hope McConnell will do.”

But because the Senate is in recess, the two leaders must agree to do so or else a trial would begin no sooner than Jan. 19, when they return. The next day, with Mr. Biden’s inauguration, Democrats will take operational control of the Senate, where they will have a working majority by dint of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s power to cast tiebreaking votes.

For Mr. McConnell and other Republicans, the crisis offered an opportunity to bar Mr. Trump from seeking the presidency again in 2024, as he has repeatedly mused with allies about doing.

“Congressional Republicans must evaluate this latest Trump situation and look at the best long-term solutions for the country,” said Scott Reed, a longtime Republican strategist. “This is now totally about Trump, not his supporters, and a permanent purge must be on the table.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/12/us/politics/mcconnell-backs-trump-impeachment.html

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