Trump provoked Capitol riot, Mitch McConnell says

US President Donald Trump’s supporters gather outside the Capitol building, January 6, 2021.

Probal Rashid | LightRocket | Getty Images

President Donald Trump and others provoked the swarms of his supporters that stormed the U.S. Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, which two weeks earlier had been evacuated after the crowd of rioters invaded the building.

The remarks from McConnell, R-Ky., came as he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., worked to hash out details on Trump’s impending impeachment trial.

The GOP leader made the direct link between the Republican president’s rhetoric and the Jan. 6 riot, which left five dead, the day before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president.

McConnell has rebuffed pressure from Democrats to hold that trial before Trump leaves office, but he has told colleagues that he is undecided on whether Trump should be convicted in the Senate for inciting the riot.

Trump has denied responsibility for the break-in at the Capitol, insisting that his remarks at a rally outside the White House just prior to the attack were “totally appropriate.”

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on McConnell’s remarks.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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