Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week MORE (R-Ky.) sent a note to Republican colleagues Wednesday afternoon informing them that he remains undecided on whether to convict President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death 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 PelosiMan who threatened to kill Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi pleads guilty to federal charges The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems look to repackage BBB into salvageable bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia 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 MurkowskiThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill MORE (R-Alaska), Ben SasseBen SasseSinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform Democrats outraged after Manchin opposes Biden spending bill Senate confirms Rahm Emanuel to be ambassador to Japan MORE (R-Neb.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyConservatives are outraged that Sarah Bloom Raskin actually believes in capitalism Meet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections MORE (R-Pa.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill MORE (R-Maine) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPut partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately Trump remembers former 'Apprentice' contestant Meat Loaf: 'Great guy' Rock legend, actor Meat Loaf dies at 74 MORE (R-Utah).
But several GOP senators have also argued against a second impeachment trial, which would not begin until President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion The Fed has a clear mandate to mitigate climate risks Biden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' MORE is sworn into office and Trump is no longer president.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators introduce bill aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two 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 ScottThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court allows lawsuits against Texas abortion ban Rapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill MORE (R-S.C.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesHillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two Senate Judiciary Committee to debate key antitrust bill Overnight Defense & National Security — No punishments in botched Kabul drone strike 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 SchumerForced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Predictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure 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.