Mitch McConnell Delayed Trump’s Impeachment Trial. Now He Says the Delay Makes It Unconstitutional.

The Senate GOP leader will not hold Trump accountable for incitement.

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Mitch McConnell refused to hold an impeachment trial while Donald Trump was in office. And on Saturday morning, he told his colleagues he would acquit Trump because the trial is unconstitutional since Trump is no longer in office.

“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” McConnell wrote to Senate Republicans. (He joined 44 Senate Republicans earlier in the week in voting that the trial was unconstitutional.)  

Of course, McConnell helped created the very timeline he’s now claims is forcing his hand. A week after Trump incited a violent insurrection at the US Capitol, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer asked McConnell to hold an emergency trial, but McConnell refused to bring the Senate back from recess.

Much was made of how McConnell might vote to convict Trump. He sharply denounced Trump for his actions on the Senate floor. “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” he said on January 19.

But in many ways McConnell had spent weeks helping embolden Trump’s Big Lie. On November 9, after the media had called the election for Joe Biden, McConnell said “President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.” McConnell didn’t recognize Biden as the president-elect until after the Electoral College certified Biden’s victory on December 14.

During that time, Trump filed dozens of frivolous lawsuits, which amplified the conspiracy theories about a stolen election that ultimately led to the insurrection at the Capitol.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate