Mary Rose Corkery
Former Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones said Monday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was trying to distance former President Donald Trump from the GOP.
Jones said McConnell was “a very smart, cunning and shrewd politician” in an interview with CNN’s John King.
“And political power is the name of the game, and getting back the majority. And he, in effect, was able to have it both ways,” Jones told King.
“He doesn’t do anything in which it’s not calculated, and he knew if he delayed this, if he delayed the trial until after the president left office, that his caucus could have it both ways.”
The Senate voted 57-43 over convicting the former president during his Saturday impeachment trial, but fell short of the 67 Senate vote threshold needed for conviction.
McConnell characterized what Trump did before the unrest on Jan. 6 as “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty” on Saturday after voting not to convict the former president, according to NBC News. The Senate minority leader described the House’s allegation of “incitement” against Trump as “a specific term from the criminal law.”
“Let me just put that aside for a moment and reiterate something I said weeks ago. There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it,” McConnell said, according to NBC News. “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”
“And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the loudest megaphone on planet Earth,” McConnell said, according to NBC News.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach the former president a second time on Jan. 13, charging him with a single article of “incitement of insurrection.”
“They could vote their conscience if they wanted to and defend democracy and defend the union, or they could hide behind a technicality and go on a jurisdictional ground,” Jones said.
“He gave it to them both ways, but clearly I think his speech at the end was designed to try to put some distance between Donald Trump and the Republican Party,” Jones told King. “We’ll see how that goes. I think it’s going to be a real holy war within the Republican Party right now given Senator Graham’s comments and some others. But that’s clearly what — exactly what he was trying to do.”
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