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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAssaults on Roe v Wade increasing Trump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push MORE (R-Ky.) sent a note to Republican colleagues Wednesday afternoon informing them that he remains undecided on whether to convict President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing 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 PelosiDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Gaetz, Greene tout push to oust Cheney: 'Maybe we're the leaders' Free Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech 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 MurkowskiPollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan Trump drama divides GOP, muddling message MORE (R-Alaska), Ben SasseBen SasseSasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls NYT's Stephens says Ted Cruz more 'unctuous' than Eddie Haskell MORE (R-Neb.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Manchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' MORE (R-Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden's elitist work-family policy won't work for most families The American Rescue Plan was a step toward universal basic income Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts MORE (R-Utah).

But several GOP senators have also argued against a second impeachment trial, which would not begin until President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE is sworn into office and Trump is no longer president.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLindsey Graham: GOP can't 'move forward without President Trump' House to advance appropriations bills in June, July The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  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 ScottUpdating the aging infrastructure in Historically Black Colleges and Universities McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' The instructive popularity of Biden's 'New Deal' for the middle class MORE (R-S.C.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesThree questions about Biden's conservation goals Hillicon Valley: DOJ to review cyber challenges | Gaetz, House Republicans want to end funding for postal service surveillance | TikTok gets new CEO Senators introduce bipartisan bill to protect personal travel data 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 SchumerBiden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture How to fast-track climate action? EPA cutting super pollutant HFCs 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.