Another person with direct knowledge told CNN that there is a reason McConnell has been silent on accusations as other Republicans have pushed back: he is furious over last week’s attack on the US Capitol by the president’s supporters, even more so Trump has shown no contradiction. His silence has been deliberate as he leaves the opportunity to support accusation.
McConnell has not committed to voting to judge Trump and wants to see the article itself before the vote. That is a stark contrast to the president’s first indictment, when McConnell repeatedly spoke out against Democratic intentions to hold Trump accountable for a press campaign against the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his family.
McConnell has been constantly moving his conference away from Trump for weeks. While he knows they are not all there with him, the Kentucky Republican believes the party should turn the page.
Several GOP sources said Tuesday that if McConnell supports sentencing, Trump will almost certainly be convicted by 67 senators in the prosecution.
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Many Republican senators remain silent about whether they want to back convictions – a sign that they could also support convictions in an effort to free Trump from their party.
Relations between the leaders of the Senate majority and the president – the two most powerful men in the Republican Party – have essentially collapsed, several sources tell CNN.
A source familiar with the relationship between the two men told CNN that McConnell is furious with Trump. The source said McConnell “hates” Trump for what he did last week after the attacks on the Capitol that left at least five people dead including a Capitol Hill police officer.
Trump and McConnell have still not spoken since last Wednesday’s uprising, a separate source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN. Another source said the two men have not spoken since McConnell’s speech in which he recognized Biden as president-elect in December.
McConnell could not get Trump on the phone when he refused to sign the stimulus bill over the Christmas week, a third source told CNN. McConnell has since told others in the wake of the stimulus circus that he will not speak to Trump again.
McConnell also talks with the president-elect about how the chamber should handle a lawsuit against Trump.
Biden is not trying to stop the persecution process, but he is trying to prevent them from consuming his agenda and overshadowing the early days of his presidency. CNN has learned that Biden called McConnell on Monday to discuss the possibility of “bifurcation” – conducting prosecution along with confirming his nominees and approving a sweeping Covid aid package.
The two men spoke frankly about a potential lawsuit against Trump, said people familiar with the call, as they both noted it would be very different from the lawsuit they sat through in 1999 for then-President Bill Clinton.
McConnell told Biden that the senator in the Senate would have to decide whether the Senate could work on legislative business other than accusation, people familiar with the call said, adding that McConnell did not offer his own opinion.
Biden raised this idea publicly on Monday when he received his second Covid-19 vaccine and said he had spoken to lawmakers. He did not reveal that McConnell was among them.
The New York Times first reported the Biden-McConnell call.
This story breaks and will be updated.
CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this story.