McConnell Rebukes Trump for Feeding ‘Lies’ to Protesters Who Stormed Capitol
WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., opened the Senate on Tuesday with a sharp rebuke for President Donald Trump, saying the outgoing chief executive “fed lies” to protestors who carried out a deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.
McConnell’s remarks, his strongest to date on the mob violence that left five people dead, were yet another sign that some in the Republican party want Trump’s hold on the GOP to end with his departure from Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said.
“They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like,” he added.
McConnell, who will be formally replaced as Senate Majority Leader by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., tomorrow, said President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will be “safe and successful.”
From there, he said, “We’ll move forward.”
Trump’s last full day in office Tuesday is also the first day back for senators since the deadly Capitol siege.
Three new Democratic senators-elect — Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia, and Alex Padilla of California — are set to be sworn into office Wednesday shortly after Biden’s inauguration at the Capitol.
Their arrival will give the Democrats a slim majority — the chamber will actually be divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats — with new Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.
Schumer and McConnell were set to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss the power-sharing agreement and schedule ahead. Among other things for them to decide is how they’ll divide committee assignments and other resources needed for the chamber to function.
The new session of Congress is already extraordinary, being marked by the first attack on the U.S. Capitol building since 1814. It will continue to make history as Senators consider whether to convict Trump of inciting insurrection, in the first impeachment trial of a president no longer in office.
The House impeached Trump last week on a sole charge, incitement of insurrection, making him the only president to be twice impeached. He had been impeached in 2019 over relations with Ukraine and was acquitted in 2020 by the Senate.
In addition, starting Tuesday, several Senate committees will begin vetting President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees, while the chamber considers passage of a massive new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Biden has said he wants the Senate to move quickly on several fronts at once, holding confirmation hearings in the morning and the impeachment trial in the afternoon.
Along with that, the new president is expected to send a tremendous amount of legislation to Capitol Hill, even before the Senate acts on COVID relief.
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