Senate

McConnell overestimated number of GOP senators who’d vote to convict Trump: book

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) overestimated the number of Republican senators he thought would vote to convict former President Trump during his second impeachment trial in the upper chamber, according to a new book.

In the book, “This Will Not Pass,” New York Times journalists Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin report that McConnell thought there would be 17 GOP votes to convict Trump the weekend after Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Trump was impeached in the House in connection to the Capitol insurrection, during which several people died, including a Capitol Police officer.

“McConnell told his advisers there would be at least 17 Senate Republicans ready to affirm Trump’s impeachment, supplying the two-thirds vote needed to convict,” the authors wrote, according to the excerpt obtained by McClatchy DC.

One of the reporters said McConnell pulled him aside after the Capitol riot to see if they had heard any information on if other Republicans would support using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

However, when the time came and only seven people in the Republican Party were willing to impeach Trump, McConnell changed his tune. 

“I didn’t get to be leader by voting with five people in the conference,” McConnell reportedly said.

McConnell ended up adopting the argument presented to him by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which was that the Senate can’t impeach a private citizen, reportedly believing it was a “smart position for him to take and predicted many other Senate Republicans would follow suit.”

After the riot, McConnell put the Senate on recess until Jan. 19, right before Trump left office. 

“It wasn’t going to happen — he wasn’t going to be a leader who stood with 15 percent of the caucus,” a longtime adviser to McConnell told the authors.

Democrats, according to the book, believed if McConnell pushed for impeachment harder, he could have convinced more Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment, McClatchy DC reported.

Since the riot and impeachment trial, McConnell has sought to keep his distance from Trump and has been reluctant to answer questions about the former president.

Trump, for his part, has taken to slamming McConnell, referring to him as “Old Crow” in statements since taking office.

In a different excerpt from the book reported by Punchbowl News, Trump told the authors McConnell was to blame for his leaving office, alleging that he would still be in the White House now if McConnell bought into his claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him.

The Hill has reached out to McConnell’s office for comment.

Tags Capitol riot Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Trump impeachment

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