Mitch McConnell’s cold fury means Donald Trump could be convicted

The Senate leader has split the party, with only 17 of the 50 Republican senators needing to join Democrats to convict Trump

By Nick Allen 13 January 2021 • 5:30am

The tipping point came just before 6pm on Tuesday night. Almost simultaneously, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, and congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, made clear they have abandoned Donald Trump.

It was the moment the political sands shifted under the president’s feet. Other, previously loyal, Republicans will follow. And the way is now clear, not just for Republicans in the House to join Democrats in impeaching Mr Trump, but potentially for the Senate to convict him.

Mr Trump would be the first US president to meet such an ignominious fate. Hours earlier it had still seemed a very remote possibility.

Mr McConnell is a quietly spoken individual, but when he strikes he is lethal. Nothing he does is without calculation.

On Tuesday, perfectly timed for reporting on the evening TV news, the New York Times carried a bombshell that Mr McConnell had “told associates” his thinking. And it was devastating.

He now “hates” Mr Trump, it was said, and believes the president has committed impeachable offences. He would be “pleased” if Mr Trump was impeached because it would help to “purge” him from the Republican party.

Mr McConnell does not do things by half measures. Tellingly, there was no denial of the report from his office.

Within minutes Ms Cheney was out with a blistering statement saying she would join Democrats in voting to impeach. Dick Cheney’s daughter did not hold back either.

The effect was to send a message from the Republican leadership to its 211-strong caucus in the House. The rank-and-file members of Congress are free to vote with the 222 Democrats to impeach. It is a vote of conscience.

White House officials had thought up to 20 Republicans might do so. But it may now be many more.

Perhaps more significantly Mr McConnell’s “associates” also indicated that he personally may vote to convict when Mr Trump is tried in the Senate.

For Mr Trump that would be earth-shattering. When in doubt Republican senators tend to follow their leader. And Mr McConnell, not Mr Trump, is their leader.

Only 17 of the 50 Republican senators would need to join Democrats to convict the president. Ultimately, Mr McConnell’s move sets up a seismic split in the party.

He has clearly taken the view that the short term pain of exorcising Mr Trump will be worth it in the long run.

Allowing Mr Trump to run again for the Republican nomination in 2024 would create all sorts of chaos.

Mr McConnell, it seems, has calculated that losing some of the president’s most loyal following would be less damaging than the exodus of moderates that would occur if he and other leaders stand by Mr Trump.

For Mr McConnell it is all about winning. The bald facts are that in 2016 Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House.

After four years of Mr Trump they have lost all three.

By his calculation jettisoning Mr Trump cannot actually make things worse.

From Mr Trump’s perspective he made a politically fatal error alienating Mr McConnell, who now regards him with cold fury.

The two men have not spoken since Dec 14 after Mr McConnell congratulated Joe Biden on his election win.

Mr Trump did call, but McConnell is said to have refused to speak to the president. By his calculation Mr Trump is a loser, and a bad one at that.

27 comments

  • The influential news aggregation site and blog; The Drudge Report, was previously a Trump loyalist site but turned against him when its business model changed in 2019. It has now gone into full panic mode and is running streams of articles alleging sinister conspiracies against the Biden inauguration. Such as this one from NBC:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/extremists-move-secret-line-channels-plan-inauguration-day-d-c-n1253876

    Liked by 6 people

  • ‘On Tuesday, police in the Chicago suburbs arrested 45-year-old Louis Capriotti, charging him with making threats to lawmakers last year in which authorities say he promised to kill any Democrat who attempted to enter the White House on Inauguration Day.

    If people “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that . . . White House on January 20th, they’re sadly . . . mistaken,” he told one member of Congress in an expletive-laden phone message, according to a criminal complaint. “We will surround the . . . White House and we will kill any . . . Democrat that steps on the . . . lawn.”
    Quote extracted from CHRON article :

    https://www.chron.com/news/article/Secret-Service-launches-massive-security-15865876.php

    Liked by 5 people

  • McConnell is an old dog in politics, with a lot of influence in the Republican party. He must have come to the conclusion that removing Trump and getting him impeached, will lessen the chance of the Republican party being split down the middle.

    Liked by 5 people

  • Pompeo had to cancel his trip to Europe, nobody wanted to meet him! Has this ever happened before?

    “In Luxembourg, an official told AFP on condition of anonymity that one leg of Pompeo’s trip was canceled after Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called Trump a “criminal” in comments to RTL radio.

    Asselborn described Trump as a “political pyromaniac who must be brought before a court” over last week’s attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jean is a lefty, like Bettel. No surprise here. 😯

      Liked by 4 people

      • Compared to your political affiliation, 99% of all people are left-leaning 😉

        Liked by 3 people

        • Not at all. But both are members of the LSAP, the Luxembourgish Socialist Workers’ Party. 😉

          Liked by 4 people

          • It’s a lot of parties in Europe that still have “Socialist” in their name, most out of historical reasons. LSAP is a social democratic party today and pro-European, center-left in politics. Their political position is almost the same as our conservative party. I’m more afraid of our party “Rødt” (Red), an extension of our old communist party

            Liked by 3 people

            • Fair enough, but pretty much all socialists hate pretty much all US Republican presidents. There was astonishing hatred for Ron Reagan from the left in Europe during his era and when Dubya came along it was worse still. The Trump hatred is really a symbol of anti-America hatred. This hatred is muted slightly when a leftist Democrat such as a Clinton or Obama come along. It will be the same with IRA Joe. They like him because he’s anti-British, but they will still hate America. It’s in their DNA.
              When you get down to it, socialists are just shy communists. They believe in exactly the same thing : massive wealth redistribution, a huge centralised state, intolerance of dissent and a ruling elite who are of course permitted to live like kings. Take for example the loathsome champagne socialist Jean-Claude Juncker, who recently held the very high office in the EU of President of the European Commission. A job with an obscene salary and equally obscene pension. This vile piece of shit took time off to attend a massive celebration of the birthday of Karl Marx in his home town. He describes the tiny poisoner as ‘a dear friend’. Now there’s someone that decent people can relate to! What a rat!

              Liked by 3 people

            • Holstein Kiel defeated Bayern Munich. 😇

              Liked by 1 person

  • “For Mr McConnell it is all about winning. The bald facts are that in 2016 Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House.”
    “After four years of Mr Trump they have lost all three.”
    Certainly, Trump’s big mouth and his brash and egocentric behavior did help to achieve that. However, the massive attacks from the wimpy leftist-liberal news and social media were perhaps what caused the most damage. These entities have lost the ability to remain neutral. They follow leftist political doctrines and someone like Trump is sand in their gears.
    Currently, we are entering a new age.

    Liked by 3 people

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