From the “Fence Sitting” Files: Mitch Votes One Way, Speaks Another

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On Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a strong case for convicting former President Donald Trump of inciting insurrection — less than half an hour after voting to acquit Trump of inciting insurrection

“By the strict criminal standard, the president’s speech probably was not incitement. However — however — in the context of impeachment, the Senate might have decided this was acceptable shorthand for the reckless actions that preceded the riot,” McConnell said. “But in this case the question is moot because former president Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction.”

McConnell argued Trump was the only one who could have stopped the insurrection — and that he didn’t act “swiftly” enough.

That purpose does not include former presidents, he argued, saying that by the House impeachment manager’s arguments, “any private citizen” could be barred from office.

“There’s no limiting principle in the Constitutional text that would empower the Senate to convict former officers that would not also let them convict and disqualify any private citizen,” McConnell said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted McConnell shortly after the acquittal vote, issuing a statement in which she said it was “pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate shut down so that the Senate could not receive the Article of Impeachment and has used that as his excuse for not voting to convict Donald Trump.”

Source: Politico and CNN and (Supplemental) Vox