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McConnell privately says he wants Trump gone as Republicans quietly lobby him to convict

January 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

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As the House prepares to send articles of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, CNN has learned that dozens of influential Republicans around Washington -- including former top Trump administration officials -- have been quietly lobbying GOP members of Congress to impeach and convict Donald Trump. The effort is not coordinated but reflects a wider battle inside the GOP between those loyal to Trump and those who want to sever ties and ensure he can never run for President again.

Washington (CNN)As the House prepares to send articles of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, CNN has learned that dozens of influential Republicans around Washington -- including former top Trump administration officials -- have been quietly lobbying GOP members of Congress to impeach and convict Donald Trump.

"Mitch said to me he wants Trump gone," one Republican member of Congress told CNN.

McConnell is also facing pressure from a faction of Senate Republicans to stick with Trump, with some telling CNN that support for conviction could threaten McConnell's leadership.

"No, no, no," Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican and Trump ally, told CNN when asked if he could support McConnell if he voted to convict Trump, calling such a vote a "dangerous precedent" and adding: "I don't even think we should be having a trial. "

Since he is known as restrained and deliberate, McConnell's words gave hope to Republicans who would like the party to split from Trump.

"I hope Mitch's institutional reverence for the Senate will overcome his natural political caution and will lead him to the conclusion that Trump is in the way of the party's future," said the former senior GOP official.

"I think a lot of people would like a reason not to convict," said a former Republican Senate staffer.

The former senior Republican official who would like to see Trump convicted characterized it as an internal war within the party and expressed pessimism that enough senators would rise to the occasion.

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