Mon, 15 February 2021, 8:24 pm
TOM BRENNER/POOL/AFP via Getty Sen. Mitch McConnell
Just because Donald Trump‘s second impeachment trial is now behind him, the former president could still face criminal charges and lawsuits related to the U.S. Capitol riot as a private citizen.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell alluded to just that in remarks given over the weekend, after he led 43 Republicans in voting to acquit Trump on his “incitement of insurrection” charge.
McConnell, 78, offered a strong rebuke of Trump, 74, in a speech delivered soon after on the Senate floor.
“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen,” McConnell said.
Now a private citizen no longer afforded the legal protections of the presidency, Trump “is still liable for everything he did while he was in office, as an ordinary citizen, unless the statute of limitations has run,” McConnell added.
“There’s no question—none—that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day, “McConnell said. “No question about it. The people that stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”
Trump’s unprecedented second impeachment ended in another acquittal on Saturday, when the Senate voted 57-43 against convicting him on the charge levied by the House of Representatives a month earlier.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have supported calls for a 9/11-like commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, which they say would offer a more thorough review of the security failures that allowed his supporters to storm the building and what role Trump played in sparking the violence that occurred there.
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died during the failed insurrection attempt.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Rioters at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
Trump could also still face charges as a result of his role in inciting the riot. CNN reports the former president has expressed concern about that possibility.
“Impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice,” McConnell said during his speech.
Federal prosecutors have acknowledged that they are examining Trump’s role in the deadly riots.
Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., said in a press conference days after the attack that his office was looking at all individuals involved in the Jan. 6 riot. “We’re looking at all actors here and anyone that had a role and, if the evidence fits the elements of the crime, they’re going to be charged,” he said.
Weeks prior to the Capitol attack, Trump had urged his supporters to travel to Washington to stop the certification of the election results. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” he tweeted. “Be there, will be wild!”
That morning, Trump delivered a disgruntled speech — repeating debunked claims about voter fraud and a “stolen” election — to a rally of supporters at the Ellipse on the National Mall, while lawmakers inside the Capitol building were certifying the Electoral College results to confirm then-President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
Trump told the crowd to “show strength,” before urging them to “fight like hell” and later directing them to walk to the Capitol building, where the mob later turned violent and forced lawmakers to flee for their safety.
More than an hour after the rioting began, Trump shared a video on social media, telling his supporters: “We love you. You’re very special. Go home.”
Trump later said his remarks throughout the day were “totally appropriate.”
Separately, Trump also faces criminal investigations in Georgia and New York.
In Georgia, Trump is the subject of a state probe and a Fulton County criminal investigation regarding a call he made to the secretary of state, in which he asked the official to “find” votes in order to overturn his loss to Biden.
In New York, prosecutors have opened a wide-ranging and complex investigation that includes alleged insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers, as well as financial dealings around some of the company’s Manhattan properties.
WHAT HYPOCRISY BY SENATOR MITCH!!! IF YOU KNEW TRUMP WAS GUILTY, WHY DID YOU AND YOUR FELLOW REPUBLICANS, NOT CONVICT HIM? MITCH FORGETS THAT TRUMP PARDONED HIMSELF, HIS FAMILY AND HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATES FROM ANY FUTURE PROSECUTIONS. SO HE IS TALKING RUBBISH!!!