Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell left open the possibility that he may still vote to convict former President Donald Trump despite voting that the trial is unconstitutional, Bloomberg News reports.
McConnell joined 43 other Republicans in voting on Tuesday that it is unconstitutional to impeach a former president even though he was impeached while still in office and other former officeholders have been impeached. The Senate ultimately voted 56-44 to proceed with the trial, with six Republicans joining every Senate Democrat.
Trump’s trial is set to kick off on Wednesday, though it is unclear if he will maintain the same legal team after attorney Bruce Castor’s performance was widely panned even by Trump’s most ardent Republican critics.
McConnell has told people that he has not made up his mind how he will vote in the trial despite his vote on Tuesday.
McConnell is “signaling” to his colleagues that the vote on whether to convict Trump is a “matter of conscience and that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president, according to three people familiar with his thinking,” according to Bloomberg.
“We’re all going to listen to what the lawyers have to say and making the arguments and work our way through it,” he told reporters last week.
Trump headed for acquittal:
Despite some division inside the GOP and Trump’s legal team’s woeful opening, Trump is expected to be acquitted on the charge of inciting the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
It requires 67 votes to convict the former president, and it is highly unlikely that 11 Republicans would join the six that voted to proceed with the trial.