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Coons blames McConnell for Trump acquittal: We needed 'more Republican courage'

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsFive takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE (D-Del.) on Sunday blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE (R-Ky.) for former President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE’s acquittal in his second Senate impeachment trial.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Coons echoed the assessment of Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden officials brace for worst despite vaccine data Political fireworks fuel DC statehood hearing Democrats vow to go 'bold' — with or without GOP MORE (D-Md.), the lead House impeachment manager, on why the Senate did not vote to convict Trump.

“As lead manager, Jamie Raskin recognized right after the trial [that] they could have had 500 more witnesses. It wasn't going to change the outcome,” Coons told host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosChristie: Biden lying about Georgia voting bill Buttigieg says Biden wants Congress to act on infrastructure before Memorial Day Blunt says it would be 'mistake' to keep Capitol fencing up MORE. “Once Mitch McConnell made it clear he intended to acquit, even despite the compelling evidence, what the House managers needed wasn't more witnesses or more evidence. What we all needed was more Republican courage.”

“I do think that we need to spend months and months unearthing all the evidence that can possibly be gotten to through a 9/11-style commission,” Coons added, supporting calls that have come from several House Democrats for such a panel.

“I, frankly, at that time, did not think that spending months fighting over additional witnesses would have changed the outcome of this trial one bit," Coons said.

Following the Senate’s vote to acquit Trump, Raskin told reporters that it was his decision to not call witnesses in the trial and said he believed it made no difference in the outcome due to Republicans such as McConnell “hanging their hats” on claims that it was unconstitutional to impeach a former president.

Coons on Sunday also said he believed the necessary 67 votes would have been reached by the Senate if they had been made in secret.

“I'm fairly certain there would have been a vote to convict with a secret ballot,” Coons said, noting that McConnell appeared to blame Trump for the insurrectionist mob when addressing the Senate despite voting to acquit just moments beforehand.

“Ultimately it's in the hands of the American people. But I do think the Republican Party is deeply divided right now,” Coons continued. “And I'm grateful for the seven Republican senators and 10 Republican House members who stood up for the Constitution and stood up to President Trump.”