Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the U.S. Capitol for the fifth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on February 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the U.S. Capitol for the fifth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on February 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

'He Is Who We Thought He Was': McConnell Tells GOP Colleagues He Will Vote to Acquit Trump

"It is disappointing but not at all surprising that Trump's worst enablers will stand with him."

Common Dreams staff

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky informed colleagues in an email Saturday morning that he will vote to acquit Donald Trump on the charge of inciting a deadly insurrection, despite admitting less than two weeks after the January 6 assault that the former president "provoked" the right-wing mob.

McConnell hid behind a procedural justification for his decision, echoing a position that many of his Republican colleagues have taken despite the Senate's vote reaffirming the constitutionality of the trial earlier this week.

"While a close call," McConnell wrote, "I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction."

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted in response to news of McConnell's decision that "it is disappointing but not at all surprising that Trump's worst enablers will stand with him."

"McConnell's failure to put the needs of the country before partisan politics will define his legacy, and shape the future of a Republican Party increasingly embracing authoritarianism," wrote Beyer. "McConnell kept the trial from starting until Trump had left office. Now McConnell says he won’t convict Trump because he is no longer in office.

"Pure cynical partisanship to let Trump get away with inciting the attack on the Capitol, and all the death and destruction it caused," Beyer added.

A final verdict in the Trump impeachment trial could come this weekend. A two-thirds vote is required to convict.

McConnell's email came after a more than 190 legal scholars published an open letter urging senators not to "rely solely on a procedural argument that has already been voted down by this body, and certainly not on legal sophistry."

"It is now your turn to honor your oath as you weigh the evidence and arguments presented, even though it may require you to put our Constitution and the rule of law ahead of your own political allegiances," the letter reads. "The eyes of the entire nation and future generations are upon you. Will you stand true to your oath?"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Death Valley Floods Deemed a '1,000-Year Event'

"With climate change models predicting more frequent and more intense storms, this is a place where you can see climate change in action," said the park superintendent.

Kenny Stancil ·


Warren Opens Probe Into 'Shocking and Horrific' Impacts of GOP Abortion Bans

"Let's be clear: Republican politicians are risking women's lives and health in pursuit of a dangerous, out-of-touch agenda."

Jake Johnson ·


Store Walkout Over Firing of Starbucks Union Organizer Racks Up 20 Million Views on TikTok

"Starbucks continues its rampant firing of union leaders."

Jake Johnson ·


70% of Americans Support Deciding State Abortion Rights by Ballot Measure: Poll

After an "enormous victory" in Kansas, some progressives argue that ballot measures "are the next frontier" for protecting access to reproductive healthcare.

Jessica Corbett ·


Judge Rules Walgreens 'Substantially Contributed' to San Francisco Opioid Crisis

"Walgreens knew its system to detect and stop suspicious orders was nonexistent but continued to ship opioids at an alarming pace to increase profits," said an attorney for the California city.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo