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Photo: Rod Lamkey Pool/Getty Images

Before senators begin debating an expected challenge to Arizona's Electoral College vote Wednesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell will deliver a weighty speech trying to save the Senate from itself, people familiar with his plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: The majority leader had hoped to keep his fellow Republicans from challenging the 2020 election results, but now that over a dozen senators will, the history-lover aims to keep his party from even deeper self-inflicted wounds.

What we’re hearing: During a Joint Session with the House, lawmakers plan to object first to Arizona's results, which come up early in the alphabetical roll call of states. McConnell is expected to be the first senator to speak after he and his colleagues return to their chamber.

  • McConnell will draw on the same principles he laid out during a call with the Republican conference last week. He said Wednesday's vote certifying Joe Biden's victory would be "the most consequential I have ever cast.”
  • McConnell fears the vote will put Republicans up for re-election in 2022 in a horrible position — forcing them to choose between defying the most popular politician in the party, Donald Trump, and fueling Democratic charges they are undermining democracy.
  • The speech is sure to deepen President Trump's anger with McConnell, who referred to him tonight as part of "the weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party."
  • The remarks also will be McConnell's first in public following today’s pivotal Senate runoffs in Georgia.

Between the lines: The speech will create a clear separation between Republicans who are tethered to reality versus those with concerns — and further political ambitions — that mirror Trump’s.


Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Tears, hugs, cheers as U.S. reacts to Chauvin guilty verdict

People react after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

People across the U.S. rallied into the night Tuesday, cheering, hugging and crying tears of relief after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd.

Driving the news: After Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump tweeted, "GUILTY! Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. ... Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!"

Columbus police officer fatally shoots Black teenage girl

Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the fatal police shooting of a Black teenage girl in Columbus on Tuesday afternoon.

Of note: The shooting of the girl, identified by family members as Ma'Khia Bryant, 16, occurred just before the verdict was announced in the Minneapolis murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, and as the nation grapples with police reform.

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