Trump calls on Republicans to turn on Senate leader

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WASHINGTON | Donald Trump on Tuesday exhausted Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, calling on his party to turn its back on this veteran Congressman, who publicly accused the former US president of being “responsible” for the murderous assault on the Capitol.

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Hitherto very discreet since his departure from the White House, the 45th President of the United States thus declares open war with this fine strategist who has long been his ally, a divorce emblematic of the divisions which are now tearing Republicans apart.

“Mitch is a sullen, sullen politician who never smiles and if Republican senators stay with him they won’t win anymore,” the ex-president wrote in a scathing statement.

“The Republican Party can never be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Mitch McConnell at the helm,” he insisted.

“Now, his figures” in the polls “are even lower than ever before, he is destroying the Republican side of the Senate and at the same time, doing terribly harm to our country,” says Donald Trump.

Mitch McConnell, 78, voted Saturday for the acquittal of the Republican billionaire in his Senate trial, saying the upper house was not competent to try him. But in the process, he declared him “in fact and morally responsible” for the assault on the Capitol which left five dead.

The rioters acted “because the most powerful man on the planet had fed them with lies”, refusing his defeat in the presidential election of November 3, he asserted.

He had, in the same gloomy speech, taken care to stress that Donald Trump, now a “simple citizen”, could still be prosecuted.

“He is still responsible for everything he did while in office. He has not escaped anything yet, ”he said.

Senators were a majority – 57 out of 100 – to vote for the billionaire’s conviction. Including, notably, seven Republicans. But it would have taken two-thirds of the upper house (67 votes) to reach a guilty verdict, which could have been followed by a sentence of ineligibility for Donald Trump.