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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never wants to speak to President Donald Trump again following a violent insurrection at the US Capitol on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.
The president has been accused of inciting the riots by urging his supporters at a rally Wednesday “to fight” and march to the Capitol, where Congress was counting electoral votes and finalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
Trump has spent months spinning bogus conspiracy theories about voter fraud and election-rigging, while falsely insisting the race was “stolen” from him and that he is the rightful winner. At Wednesday’s rally, the president reiterated those claims, adding, “We will never concede,” as his supporters cheered.
Throngs of them subsequently stormed the US Capitol, clashed with police, broke into the building, ransacked lawmakers’ offices, and made it as far as the House and Senate floor.
At the time, lawmakers were debating a Republican challenge to Arizona’s electoral votes but both chambers were forced to go into recess as members, Hill staffers, and reporters sheltered in place or behind makeshift barricades. The attempted coup by the pro-Trump mob resulted in five deaths, including one Capitol Police officer.
When Congress reconvened more than six hours later and after the building was finally secured, McConnell forcefully condemned the rioters.
“The United States Senate will not be intimidated,” he said. “We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation.”
McConnell added: “Even during an ongoing armed rebellion and the Civil War, the clockwork of our democracy has carried on. The United States and the United States Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today.”
“They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed,” he said. “This failed insurrection only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic.”
Congress finished counting the electoral votes shortly before 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, cementing Biden’s victory.
On Thursday evening, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC said federal prosecutors are investigating Trump’s role in inciting the insurrection.
“We are looking at all actors here, not only the people that went into the building, but … were there others that maybe assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role in this,” acting US attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters in a phone call.
The Post reported that when Sherwin was specifically pressed on whether that included Trump, he responded, “We are looking at all actors here, and anyone that had a role. If the evidence fits the element of a crime, they’re going to be charged.”
After Sherwin’s comments, the president released a video condemning the violence at the Capitol. The New York Times later reported that the president had resisted taping the message and only caved when he realized he could face legal trouble stemming from the riots.