Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that he will vote to acquit former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial.
McConnell shared the news in a letter with Senate Republicans, telling them he does not believe there is enough evidence to impeach Trump. McConnell had not previously said how he would vote.
“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” McConnell wrote, Politico reported.
“The Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House,” McConnell continued.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday left on the table the option of invoking the 14th Amendment to ban Trump from office if he is not convicted in the Senate impeachment trial. (RELATED: Schumer Leaves 14th Amendment On The Table If Trump Is Not Convicted In Senate)
In January, McConnell and a majority of Republicans voted in favor of Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s motion to dismiss the impeachment trial against Trump, saying it was unconstitutional. (RELATED: McConnell Votes In Favor Of Rand Paul’s Motion To Dismiss Trump’s Impeachment Trial, Five GOP Senators Opposed)
Shortly after, McConnell said that he hadn’t spoken to Trump since Dec. 15, as some reported that McConnell has said he does not want to speak to Trump again after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
In order to convict Trump in the Senate, Democrats will need 17 Republican senators to side with every Democrat.