McConnell: Trump ‘provoked’ deadly Capitol riot, ‘fed lies’ to mob
GOP leader vows ‘safe and successful’ inauguration of Biden
WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday explicitly blamed President Donald Trump for the deadly riot at the Capitol, saying the mob was “fed lies,” and that the president and others “provoked” those intent on overturning Democrat Joe Biden’s election.
Ahead of Trump’s historic second impeachment trial, McConnell’s remarks were his most severe and public rebuke of the outgoing president. The GOP leader is setting a tone as Republicans weigh whether to convict Trump on the impeachment charge that will soon be sent over from the House: “incitement of insurrection.”
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”
The Republican leader vowed a “safe and successful” inauguration of Biden on Wednesday at the Capitol.
Senate Democrats, led by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, will take charge as they launch a trial to hold the defeated president responsible for the siege, while also confirming Biden’s Cabinet and being asked to consider passage of a sweeping new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Making the case for Trump’s conviction, Schumer said the Senate needs to set a precedent that the “severest offense ever committed by a president would be met by the severest remedy provided by the Constitution — impeachment” and disbarment from future office.
McConnell and Schumer conferred later Tuesday about how to balance the trial with other business and how to organize the evenly divided chamber, a process that could slow all the Senate’s business and delay the impeachment proceedings.
There were signs of an early impasse. McConnell told Schumer that retaining the legislative filibuster is important and should be part of their negotiations.
But a spokesman for Schumer, Justin Goodman, said that the Democratic leader “expressed that the fairest, most reasonable and easiest path forward” was to adopt an agreement similar to a 2001 consensus between the parties, the last time the Senate was evenly divided, without “extraneous changes from either side.”