Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump Trump, House GOP relationship suddenly deteriorates Kinzinger says he’ll vote to impeach Trump MORE (R-Ky.) sent a note to Republican colleagues Wednesday afternoon informing them that he remains undecided on whether to convict President TrumpDonald TrumpGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment YouTube temporarily bars uploading of new content on Trump’s channel House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump MORE on an article of impeachment expected to be passed by the House.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote in a note to colleagues, an excerpt of which was made public by his office.
McConnell made his statement after The New York Time reported Tuesday that the GOP leader has told associates he believes Trump has committed impeachable offenses.
The Times also reported that McConnell has told associates that he is pleased Democrats are moving to impeach Trump because it will make it easier for the Republican Party to break with the president once he leaves office.
Republican sources say McConnell will not again serve as one of Trump’s principal defenders as he did a year ago when he led staunch defense against two articles of impeachment passed by the House in December 2019.
A year ago, McConnell called two articles of impeachment “purely political” after they both failed to gain a single Republican vote in the House.
The GOP leader warned that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump Trump told Pence he could be a ‘patriot’ or ‘p—-‘ when overseeing election vote: report Pelosi names 9 impeachment managers MORE (D-Calif.) had “taken our nation down a dangerous road” and called for the Senate not to bless what he called an “unprecedented and dangerous” process.
McConnell has not leveled any similar attack or criticism against the new article of impeachment, which the House is expected to pass Wednesday.
A Republican official told The Hill on Tuesday that McConnell is “genuinely furious about what happened last week and what led up to it.”
Five Senate Republicans have either called on Trump to resign, blamed him for inciting the crowd that stormed the Capitol last week or have signaled they would consider voting to convict the president on an article of impeachment. They are Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell won’t reprise role as chief Trump defender GOP Sen. Tim Scott opposes impeaching Trump Republicans eye primaries in impeachment vote MORE (R-Alaska), Ben SasseBen SasseMcConnell won’t reprise role as chief Trump defender Why Trump can’t be prosecuted Former Republican congressman: ‘Impeachment is necessary’ MORE (R-Neb.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGovernment used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Appeals court rules NSA’s bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (R-Pa.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell won’t reprise role as chief Trump defender Trumpism must not become the new McCarthyism Republicans wrestle over removing Trump MORE (R-Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyKinzinger says he’ll vote to impeach Trump McConnell won’t reprise role as chief Trump defender Katko becomes first Republican to say he’ll vote to impeach Trump MORE (R-Utah).
But several GOP senators have also argued against a second impeachment trial, which would not begin until President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenGrowing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment House passes measure calling on Pence to remove Trump Disney, Walmart say they will block donations to lawmakers who objected to Electoral College results MORE is sworn into office and Trump is no longer president.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBrown says Graham yelled at officer for not doing ‘enough’ to protect senators Lawmakers briefed on ‘horrifying,’ ‘chilling’ security threats ahead of inauguration Trump’s legacy is discord and division MORE (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s closest confidants in the Senate, warned Wednesday that Republican senators “who legitimize this process” would be “doing great damage not only to the country [and] the future of the presidency, but also to the party.”
“The millions who have supported President Trump and his agenda should not be demonized because of the despicable actions of a seditious mob,” Graham said.
Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottMcConnell won’t reprise role as chief Trump defender GOP Sen. Tim Scott opposes impeaching Trump Cotton calls out Senate Republicans for misleading supporters about election results MORE (R-S.C.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesMember of Senate GOP leadership: Impeaching Trump ‘not going to happen’ Hawley to still object to Pennsylvania after Capitol breached Election fight tears at GOP MORE (R-Mont.) have also spoken out against another Senate impeachment trial as something that would further divide the country.
“An impeachment vote will only lead to more hate and a deeply fractured nation. I oppose impeaching President Trump,” Scott said Tuesday.
McConnell’s staff informed Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerWoman interrupts Schumer press conference, calls him ‘racist anti-Semite’ Overnight Energy: EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations | Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report | Officials ousted from White House after papers casting doubt on climate science Senate to be briefed on inauguration security after Capitol attack MORE’s (D-N.Y.) staff Wednesday that the GOP leader will not agree to reconvening the Senate before Jan. 19, the date which the two leaders agreed to for when senators should resume business after a recess.
McConnell asserted in a note circulated to colleagues last week that no business of any kind will be allowed to take place on the Senate floor until Jan. 19 unless all 100 senators agree.
That means the House impeachment managers would not be able to present the articles of impeachment to the Senate any sooner than Jan. 19 and the impeachment trial could not begin before 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, at which point Biden will be president.