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McConnell votes to acquit, calls Trump’s actions preceding the riot a "disgraceful dereliction of duty"

Trump Impeachment
Posted at 6:27 PM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-13 18:44:28-05

WASHINGTON (LEX 18) — After Saturday's vote in the US Senate, former President Donald Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial.

All 50 Democrat senators and 7 Republican senators voted in favor of conviction, but 43 GOP senators found him not guilty.

67 "guilty" votes were needed for conviction.

Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul were among the "not guilty."

In response to the impeachment trial, Minority Leader McConnell spoke on the Senate floor for more than 20 minutes.

He called January 6th "a disgrace." McConnell called then-President Trump's actions preceding the riot "a disgraceful dereliction of duty."

“Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the Vice President. They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth — because he was angry he’d lost an election," said McConnell.

McConnell also said that Trump's "unconscionable" behavior continued after the Jan. 6 speech.

“It was obvious that only President Trump could end this. Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the Administration. But the President did not act swiftly. He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed, and order restored. Instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded. He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election!" said McConnell. “74 million Americans did not invade the Capitol. Several hundred rioters did. And 74 million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it. One person did."

Ultimately, McConnell said he voted to acquit him at the impeachment trial because he believes the Senate had no jurisdiction over a former president.

“If President Trump were still in office, I would have carefully considered whether the House managers proved their specific charge. By the strict criminal standard, the President’s speech probably was not incitement. However, in the context of impeachment, the Senate might have decided this was acceptable shorthand for the reckless actions that preceded the riot. But in this case, that question is moot. Because former President Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction," said McConnell.

The House voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13, while the former president was still in office.

McConnell announced that he was not going to call the Senate back early to conduct an impeachment trial. They were not scheduled to be back in session until January 19, the day before President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

At the time, McConnell said, "I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the Executive Branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden administration."