Sat | Feb 27, 2021

McConnell said Trump ‘fed lies’ to mob about Biden election

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2021 | 1:33 PM
In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from the Senate floor to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Now that the House has impeached President Donald Trump for the second time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must figure out the best strategy for arguing the case before the Senate. Senate rules say the trial must start soon after the chamber receives the article of impeachment, which cites “incitement of insurrection” after an angry mob of Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol last week. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell opened the Senate on Tuesday saying the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol was “fed lies” by the president and others in the deadly riot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election.

McConnell’s remarks are his most severe and public rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump. The Republican leader vowed a “safe and successful” inauguration of Biden on Wednesday at the Capitol, which is under extremely tight security.

“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”

McConnell said after Biden’s inauguration on the Capitol’s West Front — what he noted former President George H.W. Bush has called “democracy’s front porch” — “We’ll move forward.”

Trump’s last full day in office Tuesday is also senators’ first day back since the deadly Capitol siege, an unparalleled time of transition as the Senate presses ahead to his impeachment trial and starts confirmation hearings on President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet.

Three new Democratic senators-elect are set to be sworn into office Wednesday shortly after Biden’s inauguration at the Capitol, which is under extreme security since the bloody pro-Trump riot. The new senators’ arrival will give the Democrats the most slim majority, a 50-50 divided Senate chamber, with the new vice president, Kamala Harris, swearing them in and serving as an eventual tie-breaking vote.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer are set to confer Tuesday about the arrangements ahead, according to a person familiar with the planning and granted anonymity to discuss it.

The start of the new session of Congress will force senators to come to terms with the post-Trump era, a transfer of power like almost none other in the nation’s history. Senators are returning to a Capitol shattered from the riot, but also a Senate ground to a halt by the lawmakers’ own extreme partisanship.

Republican senators, in particular, face a daunting choice of whether to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection, the first impeachment trial of a president no longer in office, in a break with the defeated president who continues to hold great sway over the party but whose future is uncertain. Senators are also being asked to start confirming Biden’s Cabinet nominees and consider passage of a sweeping new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

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