Mitch McConnell

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is weighing whether to convict President Donald Trump for his role in inciting last week’s violent riot at the Capitol, Republicans familiar with the GOP leader’s deliberations told Insider. 

It’d be an explosive move for the Kentucky Republican that could ultimately lead to Trump becoming the first former president banned from ever again holding federally elected office. 

McConnell is said to be enraged at Trump for directing the heavily-armed mob that swarmed the Capitol in protest of Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. He now sees the Democrat-led House effort that culminated Wednesday with a bipartisan 232-197 vote to impeach the president as a potential avenue to rid his party and American politics once and for all of Trump.

“He’s seriously entertaining it,” said one GOP source familiar with the Kentucky Republican’s thinking. “He wants to hear it out.” 

McConnell is trying to drum up the necessary 17 Republican votes needed to help convict the president at a Senate trial, according to a source close to the Trump White House. It will be an uphill climb given the outsized role Trump currently has in GOP politics, in particular with a fervent base of conservatives who wield considerable power through high turnout as primary voters.

But McConnell also recognizes that Trump is as vulnerable as he’s ever been. 

For one, the president is about to be exiled from the White House after falling short against Biden last November. He’s about to lose the immunity from prosecution that comes with being president, exposing him to federal, state, and local criminal investigations covering everything from the Capitol riot to his private business dealings, and overtures to Georgia officials to overturn the results of the 2020 election he lost. 

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And the president has already been banned from the potent social media networks that helped fuel his political rise, undercutting his ability to speak directly to his supporters and influence some of the fence-sitting GOP senators who have the power to end Trump’s career.

“Now is the time,” a source close to the White House said of McConnell’s potential move. “If you’re going to do it, do it now. He can’t talk to his people. He literally can’t communicate. It’s the time to shiv him and then brace for the fallout.”

Getting to 17 Senate Republican votes

Moderate Republicans like Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mitt Romney of Utah are widely seen as possible yes votes to convict Trump at an impeachment trial.

Other GOP senators may have their own incentives to join them too. Shortly before Christmas, for example, Trump said he would back a primary challenger against Sen. John Thune in retaliation for the South Dakota Republican not showing him total loyalty. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, the president’s adult sons, also threatened primary challenges against any Republicans who didn’t support their father’s effort to overturn Biden’s election.

Republicans interviewed by Insider predicted there’s a mix of Senate retirements coming up in 2022, as well as establishment …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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