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Mitch McConnell once again signals to Senate Republicans that finding Trump guilty is a 'vote of conscience' - but hasn't decided his vote in impeachment trial

 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has once again signaled to fellow Senate Republicans that Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is a 'vote of conscience.'

McConnell has reportedly indicated that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president, three sources told Bloomberg News

Despite having voted on Tuesday to declare it unconstitutional for the Senate to hear the case, McConnell also suggested that he has not yet determined how he will vote regarding finding Trump guilty, the outlet reported.

Only six Republicans voted against party lines, in favor of the constitutionality of the trial in the Senate, on Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, has once again indicated that Republicans can vote to convict Trump

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, has once again indicated that Republicans can vote to convict Trump

McConnell indicated senators who disputed the constitutionality of the impeachment trial could still vote to convict Trump, pictured

McConnell indicated senators who disputed the constitutionality of the impeachment trial could still vote to convict Trump, pictured

On January 11, the House introduced just one article of impeachment against Trump for his role in allegedly inciting the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The article of impeachment passed in the lower chamber on January 13.

Just days after the House vote, it was revealed that McConnell was telling his Republican colleagues President Trump's impeachment trial will be a 'vote of conscience' – an absence of pressure that effectively allows them to vote guilty.

'His message to me was this would clearly be a vote of conscience,' North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer said at the time. 

'He's always been respectful of members that way.' 

House leaders also called the House impeachment a 'vote of conscience' – and 10 Republicans including Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney joined Democrats, with 232 voting to impeach Trump.


In the Senate, Democrats would need at least 17 and possibly 18 Republicans to convict – putting individual senators to weigh their feelings as well as the views of some of their angry constituents - or some to simply not turn up at all; conviction is by a two-thirds majority of those who vote. 

Currently the Republican base is strongly pro-Trump and senators with upcoming elections in 2022 and 2024 would fear being primaried by Trump loyalists if they vote to convict.

On January 19, McConnell denounced Trump, saying that the former president was responsible for 'provoking' the MAGA mob that stormed the Capitol and murdered a police officer.

On Tuesday, six senators voted for the constitutionality of the impeachment trial, which McConnell voted against

On Tuesday, six senators voted for the constitutionality of the impeachment trial, which McConnell voted against

Violent insurrectionists loyal to former President Donald Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol on January 6

Violent insurrectionists loyal to former President Donald Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol on January 6

Trump, not pictured, has been accused by a House impeachment vote of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol

Trump, not pictured, has been accused by a House impeachment vote of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol

Democrats unveil video presentation 'tying Trump to MAGA Riot'
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'The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,' the majority leader said on the Senate floor.

'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,' McConnell continued.

'But we pressed on. We stood together and said an angry mob would not get veto power over the rule of law in our nation.'

The dramatic and unprompted intervention by the man who became Republicans' most senior leader when Trump left office came with less than 24 hours of his presidency remaining.

That speech is one of McConnell's last acts of his time as Republican majority leader, as he became the minority leader when the two new Georgia Democratic senators were sworn in after winning their runoff elections. 

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