Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's draft proposal for a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, calling it "partisan by design."

The rift within the Republican Party spilled out into full view this week.

After voting to acquit Donald Trump on an impeachment charge of incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said unequivocally that the former president is to blame.

In a highly personal attack, former President Donald Trump blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him an unfit leader of the Republican Party.

"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a lengthy statement Tuesday.

"Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again," he added.

Following Saturday's vote acquitting former President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., excoriated Trump for his actions on the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, calling them a "disgraceful dereliction of duty."

But he said ultimately, he did not vote to convict the former president because of constitutional concerns.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will vote to acquit former President Trump, a source familiar with his decision tells NPR's Susan Davis.

The news comes as the Senate began Saturday morning debating whether to call witnesses in the impeachment trial.

Democrats need at least 17 Republicans in order to convict Trump. Although that number was never realistic, Democrats had hoped to peel of some GOP senators to vote to convict Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. McConnell had reportedly told his colleagues to vote their conscience in the trial.

This week's Senate impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump centers on his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, when thousands of rioters disrupted Congress, killing and injuring Capitol police officers and others in the process. The crowd had come directly from an event where Trump had spoken to them.

Updated 5:40 p.m. ET

After senators were sworn in Tuesday afternoon as jurors in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, Sen. Rand Paul quickly pressed for a vote to force lawmakers on the record over the issue of the trial's constitutionality.

The Senate voted 55-45 to reject the Kentucky Republican's argument that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office.

Updated at 8:12 a.m. ET

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dropped his demand that Democrats maintain the Senate filibuster — ending an early stalemate in the Senate that prevented party leaders from negotiating a power-sharing agreement.

Updated at 6:58 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the sole article of impeachment for incitement to insurrection against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday and a trial against the Republican will begin the week of Feb. 8.

"The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump," Schumer said Friday on the Senate floor. "It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial."

For the first time since the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly denounced President Trump and his supporters for instigating the insurrection.

"The mob was fed lies," McConnell, R-Ky., said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon.

"They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like."

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