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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

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

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