McConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Kentucky Republican committee rejects resolution urging McConnell to condemn Trump impeachment Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack MORE (R-Ky.) sent a note to Republican colleagues Wednesday afternoon informing them that he remains undecided on whether to convict President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call 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 PelosiSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Do Democrats really want unity? 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 MurkowskiTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Murkowski didn't vote for Trump, won't join Democrats Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday MORE (R-Alaska), Ben SasseBen SasseFormer official acknowledges final days in office a 'black eye' for Trump Republican senators and courage The next pandemic may be cyber — How Biden administration can stop it 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 CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict 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 BidenDC residents jumped at opportunity to pay for meals for National Guardsmen Joe Biden might bring 'unity' – to the Middle East Biden shouldn't let defeating cancer take a backseat to COVID MORE is sworn into office and Trump is no longer president.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February 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 ScottGOP senator calls Biden's COVID-19 relief plan a 'non-starter' GOP senator questions constitutionality of an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office Biden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP MORE (R-S.C.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone Biden recommits US to Paris climate accord 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 SchumerCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Schumer calls for DOJ watchdog to probe alleged Trump effort to oust acting AG Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers 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.