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

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.) on Sunday blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week GOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture MORE (R-Ky.) for former President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: 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 RaskinSix House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit Democrats seek to keep spotlight on Capitol siege Congress and the administration cannot play games with the Congressional Review Act 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 StephanopoulosHarris: I don't think America is a racist country, but we need to speak truth about history Biden meets with TV anchors ahead of joint address CDC director 'cautiously optimistic' about coronavirus situation in US 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.”