McConnell says he was defending Constitution, not Trump, with impeachment acquittal vote

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he was defending the U.S. Constitution, and not Donald Trump, by voting to acquit the former president of an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he was defending the U.S. Constitution, and not Donald Trump, by voting to acquit the former president of an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection.

McConnell, R-Ky., in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal Tuesday called the Jan. 6 Capitol riot a "shameful day" but argued that Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution bars senators from impeaching former officials.

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"There is no question former President Trump bears moral responsibility," McConnell wrote, saying his supporters stormed the Capitol because of the "unhinged falsehoods he shouted into the world's largest megaphone."

McConnell called Trump's behavior during and after the riot "unconscionable" and said he was "as outraged as any member of Congress."

"But senators take our own oaths. Our job wasn't to find some way, any way, to inflict a punishment," he wrote. "The Senate's first and foundational duty was to protect the Constitution."

Trump was the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, and the first president out of office to go through an impeachment proceeding.

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Brooke Singman
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