What Mitch McConnell Has Said About Impeaching Donald Trump for Second Time

The House is expected to vote on the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, and if passed the vote will move to the Senate, where 17 Republican senators are needed to reach the required two-thirds majority.

The article of impeachment accuses Trump of "incitement of insurrection" for the riots at the Capitol on January 6, and according to a recent report from The New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be leaning toward voting in favor of impeachment.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Times reported that McConnell has told associates that he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and is "pleased" that Democrats are moving forward with the impeachment proceedings. The Times also reported that McConnell believes that impeaching Trump will "make it easier to purge him from the party," and has blamed Trump for "causing Republicans to lose the Senate."

On Friday, The Washington Post obtained a memo McConnell sent to fellow Republican senators, detailing how Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate would work. According to the Post, the memo stated that Senate won't reconvene for any business including "beginning to act on received articles of impeachment from the House" until January 19, just a few days prior to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

"Again, it would require the consent of all 100 Senators to conduct any business of any kind during the scheduled pro forma sessions prior to January 19, and therefore the consent of all 100 Senators to begin acting on any articles of impeachment during those sessions," McConnell said in the memo, according to the Post.

While McConnell has yet to publicly state if he supports or opposes impeaching Trump, he previously broke from Trump when the Senate convened for a special joint session to certify state's electoral votes, opposing the attempt to overturn Trump's loss.

"President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments, to sweeping conspiracy theories," McConnell said during the session. "I supported the president's right to use the legal system. Dozens of lawsuits received hearings in courtrooms all across our country. But over and over the courts rejected these claims, including all star judges, whom the president himself has nominated."

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the U.S. Capitol and walks to his office on January 6. McConnell's comments in a speech last week showed stark differences from those he made during Trump's first impeachment trial in early 2020. Drew Angerer/Getty

He continued, "But my colleagues, nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence."

During his speech he also stated that overruling the courts and the voters "would damage our republic forever" and added that "if this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our Democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again."

While he did not directly mention Trump in his speech last week, his comments showed stark differences from those he made during Trump's first impeachment trial in early 2020, where he called Democrats' push to impeach Trump "the most rushed, least fair and least thorough" and voted to acquit him.

As of Wednesday morning, at least five Republican House members have indicated that they plan to vote in favor of impeaching Trump and as Democrats hold majority control of the House the vote is likely to pass.

Newsweek reached out to McConnell's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.