Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican colleagues Wednesday that he has "not made a final decision" on how he will vote on impeachment, despite signaling that he supported House Democrats’ move to initiate the proceedings against President Trump.
"While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote, and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate," McConnell told Senate Republicans.
McConnell’s comment comes after sources told Fox News that McConnell is "done" and "furious" with the president, and as the House considered an article of impeachment against Trump, saying he incited "insurrection" ahead of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The impeachment resolution was approved Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining all House Democrats in favor.
One source told Fox News on Tuesday that McConnell does not see House Democrats’ efforts to impeach Trump as a partisan exercise like the previous impeachment effort in 2019.
Another source told Fox News that McConnell confided to associates that impeachment will help rid the Republican Party of Trump and his movement.
The New York Times first reported that McConnell was pleased that House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Trump.
A source close to McConnell told Fox News that "nobody is pleased by anything."
Meanwhile, other sources told Fox News that there is "no love lost there."
Part of McConnell’s anger, according to sources, is that the Senate majority was lost to the Democrats just last Tuesday in the Georgia Senate runoffs. But sources said that McConnell is also extremely upset about the president’s actions Wednesday leading up to the riot at the Capitol.
A McConnell spokesman on Wednesday said that any impeachment trial almost certainly will not start until Trump has left office.
Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu, David Cicilline, Jamie Raskin, and Jerrold Nadler this week introduced the article of impeachment against Trump, charging the president with violating his oath of office. Democrats on Tuesday passed a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
"In his conduct while President of the United States -- and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States, and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States," the article reads.
The article alleges that before Jan. 6, the joint session of Congress to certify the presidential election results, Trump "repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials."
The article claims that before the Jan. 6 joint session the president addressed a crowd in Washington where he "reiterated false claims that 'we won this election, and we won it by a landslide,'" and "willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged -- and foreseeably resulted in -- lawless action at the Capitol."
The article refers to Trump's statement: "If you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore."
"Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session's solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts," the article states.
The article adds that Trump's conduct "followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the 2020 Presidential election," referring to his phone call earlier this month with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he pressured him to "find" enough votes to overturn the state's election results.
"In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government," the article states. "He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government."
The article adds that he "betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."
"Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States," it said.
The calls for Trump’s removal come after the president spoke at a rally Wednesday, telling supporters that he would "never concede," and repeated unsubstantiated claims that the election was "stolen" from him and that he won in a "landslide."
During Trump's remarks, he renewed pressure on Pence to swing the vote back toward him. He claimed that Pence should decertify the results of the presidential election and send it "back to the states," claiming that if he did that, Trump would be president for another four years.
Trump’s remarks came ahead of a joint session of Congress to certify the results of the presidential election. As members of the House and Senate raised objections to certain electoral votes, both chambers called for a recess and left their chambers as pro-Trump protesters breached the Capitol building.
Five deaths were related to the riot – including that of an Air Force veteran who had been shot inside the building – and at least 70 arrests.
Congress later returned and certified the Electoral College vote early Thursday, in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.
White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino posted a statement from the president on Twitter early Thursday morning: "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.
"I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted," Trump said. "While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!"
Two sources say McCarthy, R-Calif., relayed the president’s sentiment on a call Monday with the House GOP Conference.
McCarthy, on the call, agreed that Trump bore blame for the unrest on Jan. 6.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The House voted to impeach Trump in December 2019, but the Senate acquitted him on both articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – in February 2020.
The 2019 House impeachment inquiry began after the president pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call in July of that year to look into Biden’s role pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the founder of Burisma Holdings – a Ukrainian natural gas firm where his son, Hunter, sat on the board.
Trump's pressure campaign against Ukraine prompted a whistleblower complaint, which resulted in the impeachment inquiry.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats cited as a quid pro quo arrangement.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel, Tyler Olson and Caroline McKee contributed to this report.