“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “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.”
You can listen to McConnell’s full remarks in the player below :
The Republican leader also vowed a “safe and successful” inauguration of Biden on Wednesday at the Capitol, which is under extremely tight security.
Last week, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time. The Senate has yet to schedule a trial to determine Trump’s guilt or innocence.
McConnell last week said he would listen to the arguments presented during the Senate trial before deciding how to vote on the impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection that resulted in the siege of the Capitol.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who is poised to become Senate majority leader in coming days, said in a Senate speech that Trump “is a threat to our constitutional order whether he is in or out of office.”
Trump’s term as president ends on Wednesday when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
Schumer added that if Trump is convicted, the Senate would then vote on barring him from running again for president.
Also Wednesday, three new Democratic senators-elect are set to be sworn into office. The new senators’ arrival will give the Democrats the slimmest 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.
Schumer and McConnell are set to meet Tuesday to discuss the power-sharing agreement and schedule ahead — for Trump’s potential impeachment trial, confirming Biden’s nominees and consideration of the incoming president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.
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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.