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McConnell Rips Trump, While Pelosi Blames 'Cowardly' GOP

Minority leader says former president could still be held accountable in the courts
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2021 4:55 PM CST

(Newser) – Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a stinging indictment of former President Trump from the Senate floor on Saturday, but not until minutes after the impeachment trial ended in acquittal. Trump was charged with inciting an insurrection in connection with the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6. "Former President Trump's actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty," McConnell said, CNN reports. "Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day." The Republican's attack was more forceful than many of the floor speeches calling for conviction, the New York Times points out. In what appeared an internal compromise, he basically argued that Trump is guilty, but that the Senate can't do anything about it because he's out of office. "A mob was assaulting a Capitol in his name," McConnell said. "These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him." He pointed out that Trump remains subject to actions in criminal and civil court, per the AP. “He didn't get away with anything yet," McConnell said.

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At a press conference after the trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attacked the 43 of 50 GOP senators who voted to acquit Trump. "What we saw in that Senate today was a cowardly group of Republicans who apparently have no options, because they were afraid to defend their job, respect the institution in which they serve," she said, per the Washington Post. The Democrat said she was unimpressed with the minority leader's speech after the vote, saying it was McConnell who ensured the trial wouldn't begin until Trump had left the White House. Democrats defended the House managers' back-and-forth on whether to call witnesses. "We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and Mitch McConnell would be giving the same speech," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead manager. As the trial ended, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also criticized the other party. "Just look at what Republicans have been forced to defend," he said, per the AP. "Look at what Republicans have chosen to forgive.” (Read more impeachment trial stories.)

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