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

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSchumer warns Democrats can't let GOP block expansive agenda Inflation rears its head amid spending debate CEOs say proposed Biden tax hike would hurt competitiveness MORE (D-Del.) on Sunday blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump Senate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Colin Powell on Afghanistan: 'We've done all we can do' MORE (R-Ky.) for former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report 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 StephanopoulosBiden was right to call Putin a 'killer' — but is he doing enough to save Alexei Navalny? Senate Republican targets infrastructure package's effect on small business job creators Energy secretary: 'We don't want to use past definitions of infrastructure' 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.”