Report: McConnell Telling GOP Senators an Impeachment Vote to Convict Trump Would Be a 'Vote of Conscience'

Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly telling Senate Republicans that the final vote on Donald Trump’s impeachment is a matter of conscience and as a result, he will not hold them to uniform opposition to the charge that Trump incited the Capitol riot.

As reported by Bloomberg late Tuesday, two of its three sources also said that McConnell has not made up his mind how he’ll vote, which is somewhat surprising, given that he voted earlier Tuesday to declare a Senate trial of a former president unconstitutional.

“Senate GOP’s @LeaderMcConnell in a private mtg on eve of Trump impeachment trial again conveyed that the final vote is up to each senator, and they should listen to the lawyers’ arguments before deciding whether to vote to convict, several sources tell me.”

To be a fly on the wall during that discussion?

Only six Republicans on Tuesday voted in favor of the constitutionality of the Senate trial: Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

McConnell has sent mixed messages about the Capitol riot, the House impeachment hearings, and now the trial. In late January, he launched a strong public rebuke of Trump and “other powerful people,” suggesting that their “lies” “provoked” the Capitol attack.

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, 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.”

As was the case with Impeachment Charade 1.0, it’s beyond highly unlikely that the Senate will convict Trump, given the 50-50 balance in the chamber. Conviction requires a two-thirds majority, which means at least 17 Republicans would have to side with the Democrats on the vote to convict.

The nine House managers prosecuting Trump will lay out their case on Wednesday and will argue that Trump’s “incitement of the mob” that attacked the Capitol began much earlier with his claims of election fraud, continual claims that the election was stolen, and declaring that he won the election, beginning on election night, all of which led to the “Stop the Steal” rhetoric, culminating with the attack on the Capitol.

House impeachment managers will have as much as 16 hours over two days to present their case against Trump. Trump’s lawyers will then have the same amount of time to make their case against conviction. The trial is expected to run at least into the weekend.

After that? Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters & Co. will no doubt need therapy to help them cope with Trump Derangement Syndrome withdrawal.