Democrats Begin Impeachment Trial by Using Mitch McConnell's Words Against Trump

Democrats began laying out their case for the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump on Tuesday with a video montage of the January riot at the U.S. Capitol which included then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's denunciation of Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud.

Trump was impeached in January on one article of inciting violence against the U.S. Government for his alleged role in the Capitol riot. If Trump is convicted during the impeachment trial in the Senate, he would be prohibited from holding public office in the future. Formerly a steadfast ally of Trump, McConnell has since laid responsibility for the riot at Trump's feet.

On Tuesday, the first day of Trump's trial in the Senate, lead House impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin introduced the 13-minute-long video that included McConnell's dismissal of Trump's allegations that the election was rigged.

"President Trump claims the election was stolen," McConnell said. "The assertions range from specific local allegations to Constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories. But, my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election."

Newsweek reached out to McConnell's office for comment.

The clip of McConnell was taken from the January 6 Congressional certification of President Joe Biden's win in the Electoral College. Trump had refused to concede the election to Biden and challenged the results of the vote with multiple lawsuits. All 50 states had certified their election results with Biden emerging the victor.

In December 2020, McConnell congratulated Biden for his victory in floor remarks.

"The Electoral College has spoken," McConnell said.

Trump offered remarks at a Stop the Steal rally in Washington, D.C. which appeared to encourage his supporters to walk to the Capitol building as the certification was taking place.

"We fight like hell," Trump told the crowd, "and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

mitch mcconnell impeachment trial video democrats
Footage of then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decrying former President Donald Trump's claims of election fraud was featured in a video shown Tuesday by Democrats in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. Getty/Tom Brenner

A number of Republicans had pledged to submit official objections to the electoral vote count in the hopes of overturning the results of the election in Trump's favor. Trump told the supporters that he would join them at the Capitol building to give Republicans in Congress "the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country."

Trump was not present among the rioters that breached the U.S. Capitol building. Lawmakers were forced to go into hiding as members of the mob walked through Capitol, broke windows and entered private offices. The riot left five people dead.

On January 19, McConnell said during floor remarks that the riotous mob had been "fed lies."

"They were provoked by the president and other powerful people," McConnell continued, "and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like."

Trump's legal team has claimed that impeaching Trump after he was voted out of office is unconstitutional and that Trump's right to free speech was violated. House impeachment leaders referenced that argument in their Monday response to a pretrial brief filed by Trump's lawyers.

"The House did not impeach President Trump because he expressed an unpopular political opinion," the response read. "It impeached him because he willfully incited violence against the government. We live in a Nation governed by the rule of law, not mob violence incited by Presidents who cannot accept their own electoral defeat."