By David Morgan and Makini Brice
WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell called Donald Trump "practically and morallyresponsible" for his supporters' deadly attack on the Capitol,only moments after voting to acquit the Republican formerpresident on an impeachment charge of inciting the melee.
The top Senate Republican explained the unexpected turnaboutat the end of a five-day impeachment trial, by declaring itunconstitutional to convict Trump of misconduct now that theformer president has left office and become a private citizen.
The Senate earlier in the week found that the trial wasconstitutional in a 56-44 vote.
"There is no question that President Trump is practicallyand morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,"said McConnell, who along with the rest of the Congress andformer Vice President Mike Pence fled the mob that descended onthe Capitol on Jan. 6.
"The people who stormed this building believed they wereacting on the wishes and instructions of their president,"McConnell said.
In comments that echoed the prosecution case presented byHouse managers, McConnell said Trump had orchestrated "anintensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories" and described theformer president as "determined to either overturn the voters'decision or else torch our institutions on the way out."
The remarks, in a speech on the Senate floor, came soonafter the 100-seat chamber acquitted Trump on a single charge ofinciting insurrection in a 57-43 vote that failed to reach the67-vote threshold necessary for conviction.
Seven of McConnell's Republicans voted to convict. Hesuggested that Trump could yet face criminal prosecution for hisacts.
"President Trump is still liable for everything he did whilehe was in office as an ordinary citizen," McConnell said. "Hedidn't get away with anything. Yet."(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone andJonathan Oatis)