Mitch McConnell signals he will vote to acquit Trump on impeachment charge

Washington: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signalled he will vote to acquit former president Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.

In an email, McConnell made his plans clear, according to an official who confirmed on the condition of anonymity.

Word of McConnell’s plans came shortly before the trial was set to reconvene at 10am on Saturday, when senators are scheduled to decide whether to call witnesses. If they skip that step, House managers and lawyers for the president will deliver final arguments.

Before adjourning on Friday, senators posed questions to both sides about Trump’s role in the violent takeover of the Capitol on January 6. President Joe Biden is expected to remain out of public view on Saturday at Camp David, the presidential retreat in western Maryland.

Senators plan to decide whether to subpoena witnesses when the trial resumes on Saturday at 10am.

Both parties have signalled the likelihood of forgoing witnesses, which would allow the lawyers to proceed to final arguments and the senators to reach a verdict by the end of the day.

But late Friday and early Saturday, several Democratic senators expressed public support for calling a limited number of witnesses.

Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler said in a statement on Friday night that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told her that Trump had expressed sympathy for the mob during a heated phone call between the two as the January 6 attack was unfolding.

“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol,” Beutler said.

“McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters. That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’”

The Washington Post

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