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Durbin: 'We were never going to reach 67 votes' to convict Trump without McConnell's backing

Durbin: 'We were never going to reach 67 votes' to convict Trump without McConnell's backing
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization Schumer in bind over fight to overhaul elections MORE (D-Ill.) said on Sunday that former President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE’s acquittal in his second Senate impeachment was a foregone conclusion without Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization MORE (R-Ky.) backing conviction.

“We were never going to reach 67 votes in the Senate without Mitch McConnell voting guilty. So he went up on the floor afterwards, he basically gave the speech that [Rep.] Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinWatchdog finds Architect of the Capitol was sidelined from security planning ahead of Jan. 6 Six House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit Democrats seek to keep spotlight on Capitol siege MORE [D-Md.] would have given to the Senate, and then tried to justify his vote for acquittal,” Durbin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referencing a floor speech in which McConnell suggested Trump bore responsibility for the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

“It wasn't going to happen," Durbin said. "We weren't going to reach 67 without it.”

Durbin also compared Republicans who have promoted baseless conspiracy theories that the pro-Trump mobs were disguised antifa activists to “Soviet-style revisionists.”

“[T]hat was rejected by [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTrump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization 8 in 10 Republicans who've heard of Cheney's removal agree with it: poll MORE [R-Calif.]. It’s been rejected by the clear evidence that was presented to us. I wanted to make sure that the Soviet-style revisionists on the Republican side who are trying to blame everybody but Donald Trump had a record in front of the American people that was clear,” Durbin said.

“I think Jamie Raskin and the House managers made that record with clarity, even, let's be honest with you, even Mitch McConnell acknowledged that last night, in his speech,” he added. “So we have that record and that's the important historic record to show this generation of doubters and any future generation.”

Durbin denied the Senate sped up the process to move on to voting on President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE's coronavirus relief package, noting that the chamber is in recess in the week ahead.

“That wasn't the element here. And I do want to make this point: we are working with President Biden on the priorities of the American people, dealing with this pandemic, dealing with the economy, providing cash payments to American citizens to help them through this tough period,” he said. “So what we did with this impeachment trial was not at the expense of President Biden's priorities. We'll be returning to them quickly when we come back to Washington.”