Jan 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

  • A McConnell vote to convict would likely open the floodgates for other Republican senators to do the same.

The big picture: McConnell urged his colleagues not to delay certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, calling it "the most important vote" he has ever cast. The riot at the Capitol resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer.

What they're saying: "The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding ... which they did not like," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

  • "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."

Between the lines: Although McConnell has clearly distanced himself from Trump and his defenders, the GOP leader refused to acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect until December.

What to watch: McConnell said the House has not yet transmitted the article of impeachment to the Senate. The trial will begin the day after that happens.

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