Washington, Jan. 14, 2021
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ruled out a Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump before incoming president Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
“There is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said in a statement shared on Twitter.
“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office.
“This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact,” he wrote.
The top Senate Republican suggested Congress spends the next week “focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden administration.”
His comments come after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for inciting last week’s deadly Capitol siege, triggering a Senate trial.
Democrats have pushed McConnell to quickly begin the trial.
Trump condemns Capitol Hill attack
New York, Jan. 14, 2021
Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump has “unequivocally condemned” the Jan. 6 breach of Congress by his supporters.
“I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week, Trump said in a video message posted by the White House on Twitter.
The president noted that the “incursion of the U.S. Capitol struck at the very heart” of the country and “angered millions of Americans” across party lines.
The sole article of impeachment, “incitement of insurrection”, received the votes of 10 fellow members of Trump’s Republican Party.
Trump noted that violence and vandalism had no place in his Make America Great Again movement, which he said had always been about defending the rule of law.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in, and everything our movement stands for.
“No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence; no true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag.
“No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans.
“If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it, and you are attacking our country,” he said.
Emphasising that those involved in the Capitol attack would be brought to justice, Trump called for peace and national reconciliation.
He said it was time for everyone who believed in “our agenda” to start thinking of ways to ease tensions and calm tempers.
The president said he had received security briefing on reports of additional demonstrations being planned in Washington and across the country in the coming days.
He cautioned against violence and any other form of criminality, adding that he had directed law enforcement agencies to spare no resources in maintaining order.
Trump also commented on his ban on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, describing it as an “unprecedented assault on free speech”.
“These are tense and difficult times, the efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous.
“What is needed now is for us to listen to one another, not to silence one another,” he said.
10 fellow Republicans voted to impeach Trump
New York, Jan. 14, 2021
Ten fellow Republicans voted in support of President Trump’s second impeachment by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
This, analysts say, further highlights the division in the party over Trump’s refusal to concede the Nov. 3 presidential election based on his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
In all, 232 lawmakers, including all 222 Democrats, voted in favour, while 197 Republicans opposed the impeachment, which is based on alleged “incitement of insurrection”.
Trump has made history as the only U.S. president to be impeached twice, and Wednesday’s votes came barely a week before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
In December, 2019, the Democratic-controlled House impeached Trump for obstructing Congress after he was alleged to have sought foreign interference in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Unlike Wednesday’s impeachment votes, the first one was polarised along party lines in the House with all lawmakers from the president’s party voting against.
But the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him, thus keeping him in office.
The Republicans opposed to Wednesday’s decision argued that impeaching Trump would further divide the country at a time he is already leaving office.
Some of his die-hard loyalists in the House also said he was not responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection by his supporters at the Capitol Hill.
Trump can only be removed by the Senate, but that is unlikely before he leaves office on Jan. 20, and the Senate is currently on recess.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell gave this indication in a statement following the impeachment vote in the House on Wednesday.
McConnell pointed out that even if the Senate reconvened on the matter this week, it would not be able to reach a final decision before Jan. 20.
He said: “Remember, Inauguration Day is 20 January. The Senate can still convict Trump after his departure, though.
“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden administration.