Republican lawmakers in Congress are rallying behind former president Donald Trump ahead of his impeachment trial, indicating that an acquittal over his role in the 6 January insurrection is all but inevitable.
On Sunday, Republican senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi described the trial as a “meaningless messaging partisan exercise”. Rand Paul of Kentucky similarly called the proceedings a farce with “zero chance of conviction” and described Mr Trump’s language and rally words ahead of the Capitol riot as “figurative” speech.
At least 17 GOP senators would be needed to convict Mr Trump, a number that appears out of reach after just five opposed a motion last week declaring impeachment unconstitutional.
It comes as Mr Trump’s former campaign manager revealed Melania believes her husband “feels happier” outside the White House and off the “hateful echo chamber” of social media.