Mitch McConnell is reportedly pleased by the Democratic effort to impeach Trump. It comes as Republicans say they would vote in favor of impeachment.
US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is pleased about the Democratic effort to impeach outgoing President Donald Trump, believing it will make it easier to purge him from the party, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
McConnell told associates that he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses, sources close to him told the US newspaper.
Trump faces a second impeachment in the US House of Representatives over his alleged role in inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol building last week in a mob attack to overturn the results of the presidential election.
The violence by pro-Trump groups on January 6 left five people dead and sent lawmakers gathered to certify the election results into hiding.
Trump has refused to take responsibility for encouraging his supporters and said his remarks at a rally preceding the storming of the building were "totally appropriate."
Multiple House Republicans have publicly said that they intend to vote in favor of the impeachment.
US Representative John Katko on Tuesday became the first Republican House member to join Democrats in their bid to impeach the president.
"It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection — both on social media ahead of January 6th and in his speech that day," Katko said in a statement on Twitter.
"To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequences is a direct threat to the future of our democracy," he said. "I will vote to impeach this president."
Wyoming's Representative Liz Cheney, House Republican Conference chair, also issued a statement on Tuesday saying she will vote in favor of the impeachment.
"There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the constitution," said the number three Republican in the House.
Representative Adam Kinzinger, a frequent critic of Donald Trump, announced that he would vote against the president.
Kinzinger had earlier said that he would "vote the right way" if the matter were put in front of him, but said it would be better if he were to resign. He had also called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, removing him from office.
Michigan Representative Fred Upton became the fourth Republican to back the impeachment.
Upton said he would have preferred that the House censure Trump, "but it is time to say: enough is enough." He cited Trump's comment where he "expressed no regrets'' for the insurrection in his statement.
"This sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the Constitution."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has reportedly asked other Republicans whether he should call on Trump to resign over the Capitol violence.
Neither McCarthy nor McConnell have publicly called on Trump to resign or said he should be impeached.
Top House Republicans are telling lawmakers that they won't be pressured into voting a particular way when the chamber considers impeaching Trump.
As violent images from last week's mayhem emerged, more Republicans blamed the president for his role in the violence.
While most Republicans still oppose the impeachment bid, several are expected to approve the move in what may be a career-defining vote.
Trump has had a stronghold over the Republican party since he won the White House in 2016. The party managed to thwart previous efforts by Democrats to remove him from office after the first impeachment in 2019.
But as violent images from last week's mayhem emerged, more Republicans blamed the president for his role in the violence.
adi/aw (AP, Reuters)