Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has revealed that he will vote to acquit Donald Trump in the former president’s impeachment trial.
McConnel shared his decision in a letter to fellow GOP senators on Saturday morning, ahead of what could be the final day of Trump’s second impeachment trial.
“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” McConnell wrote, according to sources familiar with the communication.
“The Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House,” McConnell wrote to fellow Republicans.
Democrats need at least 17 Republicans in order to convict Trump. Although that number was never realistic, Democrats had hoped to peel of some GOP senators to vote to convict Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. McConnell had reportedly told his colleagues to vote their conscience in the trial.
McConnell’s announcement ends a long period of silence over whether he would consider convicting Trump for incitement of insurrection and could pave the way for many other Republicans to follow in acquittal.