Moments after the Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of the “incitement of insurrection” impeachment charge, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asserted that Trump did bear responsibility for the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
“President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it,” McConnell said Saturday. “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president, and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”
He hinted that he would support a criminal case against Trump.
“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen unless the statute of limitations is run,” McConnell said. “Didn’t get away with anything yet. Yet.”
he Republican Senate leader’s speech stood in contrast to his own vote that Trump is not guilty on an incitement of insurrection charge. Seven Republicans joined with Democrats on voting to convict Trump, but in a 57-43 vote, they failed to meet the two-thirds threshold to convict the former president.
“Whatever our ex-president claims he thought might happen that day, whatever reaction he says he meant to produce by that afternoon, we know he was watching the same live television as the rest of us. A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him. It was obvious he could end this,” McConnell said. “No. Instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily, happily, as the chaos unfolded.”
He criticized allies of Trump who pointed to the former president’s record-breaking 74 million votes as a shield against criticism.
“Seventy-four million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it. One person did. Just one,” McConnell said.
Despite those feelings, though, the senator said that “after intense reflection,” he did not believe it was constitutional to convict a former president on an impeachment charge.
Trump is still vulnerable to criminal prosecution for his actions, he noted.
“We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one,” McConnell said.
McConnell’s speech enraged Democrats, who noted that he was instrumental in delaying the Senate trial and the delivery of the articles of impeachment until after Trump left office on Jan. 20.
In a press conference with the Democratic House impeachment managers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined late and appeared angry, saying that she showed up to criticize McConnell.
“For Mitch McConnell to create a situation where it could not have been heard before the 20th, or even begun before the 20th in the Senate, to say all the things he said, ‘Oh, my gosh’ about Donald Trump and how horrible he was and is and then say, ‘But the time that the House chose to bring it over’ — no, we didn’t choose. You chose not to receive it,” Pelosi said.
Mitch McConnell: "This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determine to either overturn the voters' decisions or else torch our institutions on the way out." pic.twitter.com/OEF2A4iaR1
— Axios (@axios) February 13, 2021
Source: Washington Examiner : McConnell hints at criminal prosecution for Trump and says former president bears responsibility for Capitol breach