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Senate GOP torn over convicting Trump: 'There's no love lost'

January 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.1%. 2 min read.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives at the U.S. Capitol and walks to his office on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

To many Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, there's no question in their minds: President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses.

(CNN)To many Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, there's no question in their minds: President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Several senior GOP sources told CNN on Thursday that many Republicans are torn over whether Trump's actions warrant the unprecedented step of prohibiting him from ever serving in office again after he leaves the White House next week.

Republicans say it will ultimately be up to a combination of factors -- the case built by House impeachment managers, whether new information comes out about Trump and the deadly Capitol riot and whether emotions are still raw when it comes time to vote -- to determine whether Republicans will break ranks and end Trump's political career for good.

Privately, Republicans have reviewed internal polling showing Trump's support cratering among GOP voters since Election Day -- especially since last week when he incited a violent mob of his supporters to riot in the Capitol leading to the deaths of five people, two sources said.

More than a dozen Senate GOP offices either declined or did not respond to requests for comment Thursday on the House's approval of an article of impeachment, which charged Trump with inciting an insurrection and was backed by 10 House Republicans.

Among the questions they're trying to resolve: Whether to bring in outside witnesses, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whose interaction with Trump was cited in the impeachment article after the President pressured the Republican election official to "find" the votes necessary to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the state.

Raskin, a constitutional scholar, is expected to argue that there is ample precedent for the Senate to convict a federal official after leaving office -- a case central to convincing some fence-sitting GOP senators since Trump's defense team is expected to argue such an action is unconstitutional.

"Whether or not the Senate has the constitutional authority to hold an impeachment trial for a President that is no longer in office is debatable," said Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who emerged as a leading GOP critic of Trump's post-election rhetoric.

There's never been an impeachment trial for a former president, and Trump's allies have argued the Senate doesn't have the constitutional authority to hold a trial for the President once he's left office.

Before the riots, Trump was already demanding a primary challenge to the Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Thune of South Dakota, for saying the President's efforts to overturn the election would fail.

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