Donald Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has said that there’s “no chance” that Mr Trump will be convicted in his second impeachment trial and that there’s no way that Democrats will be able to bar Mr Trump from running for office in the future.
Mr Mulvaney told Sky News Australia: “There’s absolutely no chance that Donald Trump will be convicted in this Senate trial, no chance that he will be disqualified from further office. They can’t remove him from the White House because he’s already left.
“I will say this, it’ll be a little disappointing, given the gravity of the events of January 6, that there hasn’t been a more thorough investigation of the issue…It looks more and more like a political show trial than it does like an ordinary trial with evidence and decision making,” Mr Mulvaney said.
The former Trump ally said that while he was critical of the former president’s actions during 6 January, they were “nowhere close to incitement to riot”.
Mr Mulvaney questioned the Democrats’ decision to make the focus of the impeachment narrow and to put the emphasis on what happened before the riot, saying that his criticism of Mr Trump “focus on his activity during the riot and immediately after but that has nothing to do with the impeachment trial”.
Mr Mulvaney added: “It’s hard to put your finger on one particular emotion be it shame or embarrassment, frustration, disappointment, but clearly some his most ardent supporters of the president, and I was one… were extraordinarily disappointed and saddened by the president’s behaviour during the riots itself. He did not come out strong enough against the rioters while the events were taking place. When he did go on television late in the day he said things like ‘we love you’ to the rioters. No, we don’t. We don’t love people in this country who seek to stop a constitutional transfer of authority by violence. That’s the exact opposite of how we feel about those folks.
“History will go down as Donald Trump being somehow connected to that riot and that will overshadow everything else that he and his team accomplished,” he said.
Mr Trump was impeached on 13 January in the House by a vote of 232-197, with ten Republicans crossing the aisle and voting with Democrats to condemn the then-president for his actions on 6 January.
The votes of 17 Republicans along with all 50 votes in the Democratic caucus are required to reach the threshold of conviction in the Senate. 45 out of the 50 Republican Senators earlier voted in favour of a resolution that an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional.