After the Senate voted on Saturday to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tore into Trump.
McConnell, who voted to acquit Trump of charges of “incitement of insurrection,” unequivocally blamed Trump for the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6., saying Trump is certainly guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of [Jan. 6],” McConnell said.
“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” McConnell added, which he called a “foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo” of Trump’s “false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole.”
Mitch McConnell, who voted to acquit: “There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically & morally responsible for provoking the events of [Jan. 6.]…The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on [Trump’s] wishes and instructions.” pic.twitter.com/Yeq4Na6vJu
— Axios (@axios) February 13, 2021
As TheBlaze reported, McConnell had already announced that he would vote to acquit Trump.
The Kentucky Republican explained afterward that he voted “not guilty” based on jurisdictional considerations, meaning he did not believe the Constitution permitted the Senate to exercise its impeachment powers against a private citizen, despite Trump being formally impeached by the House while he was still in office.
In fact, McConnell said Article 2, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution makes Trump “not eligible for conviction.”
However, McConnell conceded that he would have “carefully considered” the impeachment charge if Trump were still in office.
Toward the end of his speech, McConnell said that “by the strict criminal standard,” Trump is “probably not” guilty of incitement of violence.
However, McConnell made it clear that Trump has not been criminally absolved.
“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he’s in office, as an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations has run,” McConnell said.
“He didn’t get away with anything — yet, yet,” McConnell added. “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation, and former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”
Thus far, no criminal action has been initiated against Trump related to the Capitol riots.
However, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has launched a criminal probe into Trump over his alleged attempts to “overturn Georgia’s election results,” NPR reported, which stems from a call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R).