Senate Republicans say Trump should be held accountable for the riots – but not by him


“No, not at all”, the No. 2 Republican said when asked if he could defend Trump. “The way he did not handle the aftermath of the election, in terms of his public statements and things he tried to do to change the outcome.”

But like other Republicans, Thun has no clear answer to this important question: what Trump should do after he lied to his supporters about being stolen in the election, promoted a Jan. 6 rally in D.C. and Urged the protesters to go to the Capitol, which they later fled in a deadly riot?

“Well, that’s a good question,” said Thune, who faces a reunion in South Dakota next year. “In a way, obviously, the court of law will.”

With the impeachment trial for Trump beginning on February 9, Senate Republicans are criticizing him without doing anything about his actions, rebelling Trump and his ardent supporters without casting a vote between him and the former president can hope. Many say that something must be done about what Trump did – but not by him.

When asked about Trump’s actions in relation to the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill, member of the GOP leadership, Texas commander John Cornyn, said: “I’m not going to defend them.”

“I think they have already been held accountable in a court of public opinion,” Cornyn asked if the Senate should take any action, arguing that it set a “dangerous precedent” to convict a former president. Will do.

The rhetoric shows the split between House and Senate Republicans as the party struggles to find its voice in the post-Trump era. Many House Republicans remain defenders of Trump, saying they did nothing wrong and should not be blamed for the violence in the Capitol.

“President Trump did not cause an attack on the Capitol on January 6,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, the new representative of the controversial Georgia Republican.

A majority of House Republicans supported President Joe Biden’s efforts to pull out of the electoral victory in the two major states, while a handful in the Senate. After House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy went back to criticize Trump and made a joke to meet with the former president in South Florida on Thursday, he was united in his fight to be taken out of his house . year. Back in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, clarified that he had not spoken to Trump since December 15, and it is unclear whether he ever again.

Yet with 10 House Republicans who have voted to vote to give Trump the right to impeach, Senate Republicans are well aware that they will face the same fate if they are convicted next month. And McConnell, who has privately told aides that he thinks Trump had committed an impenetrable crime, refused to say publicly when CNN asked him on Tuesday – and he later this week at a procedural motion Voted with fellow Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul. Testing on the basis that it is unconstitutional.

Just five Republicans voted to kill Paul’s procedural motion. Paul told CNN that he informed the Republican cloakroom the night before he voted about his plans, a move that allowed most Republicans to quickly align themselves behind his message that leaving the president’s office The Senate has no role in conducting subsequent trials.

Five people who voted against Paul’s effort include one who is retiring (Sen. Pat Tommy of Pennsylvania), three who have either not said that they voted for Trump in November or someone else’s (Senson Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski. Ben Saas of Alaska and Nebraska) and another who voted to convict Trump of his first impeachment trial (Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah). Many of them argued that the Senate is an example of trying former federal office holders, a key point that Democratic impeachment managers plan to make during the trial.

But with the vote earlier this week, both sides agree that there is no way to get the 67 votes necessary to convict Trump, and he is also barred from office, noting that the Democrats have just 50 seats in the chamber Keep it.

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said, “I already condemned him. When asked if he could defend Trump’s actions.”

Asked what Republicans should do about it, Cassidy said: “There is something in our country called due process and things called kangaroo courts. We don’t need kangaroo courts.”

Sen. Mike Braun initially signed on to object to the results of Electoral College in Arizona, but gave up that effort after the rioters broke into the Capitol. Yet he is also performing a Senate GOP dance: criticizing Trump to show that he will not be guilty.

“I think there would be a lot of trouble to say that there is no connection between Trump’s actions and deadly violence”, Braun said. But the Indiana Republican said he is concerned about convicting someone who is no longer in office. “To me, this is a terrible precedent to set. He is not here, he is a private citizen.”

Asked how he should hold Trump accountable now, Braun said: “I think they should be held accountable in the way that people sort them out of whatever they intend to do in the future.”

Aaron Pellish of CNN contributed to this report.

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