McConnell: 'The Entire Nation Knows Who Is Responsible' for Jan. 6

Senate GOP leaders aren't rallying around Trump after recommendation for charges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2022 5:22 PM CST
Top Senate GOPers Aren't Rallying Around Trump
A video of former President Trump is shown on a screen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack holds a hearing.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Senate Republicans haven't exactly been circling the wagons around Donald Trump since the House panel investigating the Capitol attack recommended criminal charges for the former president. Some GOP senators criticized the panel for being partisan and "obviously politicized," but they said its work was important and the next move is up to federal prosecutors, the Hill reports. After the Monday referral of charges, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued one of his strongest statements blaming Trump for the riot since the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack. "The entire nation knows who is responsible for that day," he said. "Beyond that, I don’t have any immediate observations."

"It's up to Justice now," said Sen. John Thune, the Senate's No. 2 Republican leader. Asked whether he thought the panel's investigation of Trump was credible, he said, "They did interview a lot of folks that had a lot of knowledge of what happened and they were people who I think were very credible," per the Hill. McConnell and Thune both voted to acquit Trump on technical grounds at his second impeachment trial. Sen. Mitt Romney, who voted to convict Trump, said there's no question the former president "deserves culpability for inciting the riot on Jan. 6 and for failure to act to protect the vice president and the Capitol of the United States."

The question of criminal charges "would have to be determined by experienced prosecutors, and that’s what the Justice Department will determine," Romney said. Republican senators' support for Trump has been sagging since the midterm election results and only one, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, has publicly endorsed Trump's 2024 White House bid, the Hill notes. Republicans who did stick up for Trump after the panel's Monday move included Mike Pence, USA Today reports. Indicting the former president "would be terribly divisive in the country at a time when the American people want to see us heal," said the former vice president. Last month, Pence admitted he was "angered" by Trump's Jan. 6 tweet about him. (The panel's recommendation may have "zero" effect on the Justice Department.)

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