Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) acknowledged President Donald Trump’s role in inciting the riot at the Capitol on Tuesday, claiming they “were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

McConnell’s remarks came in the last full day of Trump in office, and ahead of an anticipated post-presidency Senate impeachment trial — something McConnell has said he is keeping an open mind about.

“The last time the Senate convened, we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

The riot that occurred on Jan. 6 left five dead, including one Capitol Police officer. The protest came the same day that Congress was set to certify President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory, as Trump and other Republicans had consistently promoted baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud and claims that the election was “fraud” or “stolen.”

Hours before the mob turned violent, Trump had told supporters in D.C. that “they rigged it like they have never rigged an election” and “we won this election and we won it by a landslide.”

In comments made following the violence, McConnell argued against a handful of GOP lawmakers challenging slates of electors in Arizona and Pennsylvania saying, “This election actually was not unusually close.”

“Just in recent history, 1976, 2000 and 2004 were all closer than this one,” he added.

He specifically condemned the rioters for their clear attempt to block democracy, noting 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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