Different votes, same message: Schumer, McConnell speak after Senate’s acquittal and condemn Trump
WASHINGTON - After the Senate failed to reached the needed two-thirds majority to convict former president Donald Trump for insurrecting the U.S. Capitol riot, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took the podium.
Both men condemned Trump’s rhetoric and actions leading up to the Jan. 6 riot but differed over how he should be held accountable for the Jan. 6 riot.
"This was the first presidential impeachment trial in history in which all senators were not only judges and jurors but witnesses to the constitutional crime that was committed," Schumer told senators.
The Senate’s top Democrat said Jan. 6 will live as a "day of infamy" in American history and that the vote to acquit Donald Trump "will live as a vote of infamy in the history of the United States Senate."
He applauded the seven Republicans who joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict Trump.
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He called the day of the riot the "final, terrible legacy" of Trump and said the stain of his actions will never be "washed away."
McConnell said there is still "no question" that Trump was "practically and morally responsible for provoking" the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Clearly angry, the Senate’s longest-serving GOP leader said Trump’s actions surrounding the attack on Congress were "a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty."
McConnell said he could not vote to convict Trump because he is "constitutionally not eligible for conviction" because he is no longer president - but did note that though Trump is now out of office, he remains subject to the country’s criminal and civil laws.
"He didn’t get away with anything yet," said McConnell.
He added that a conviction from the Senate would have created a dangerous precedent that would give the Senate power to convict private political rivals and bar them from holding future office.
McConnell added that impeachment is a "narrow tool for a narrow purpose."
The Associated Press contributed to this report. The story was reported from Los Angeles.