But McConnell’s handling of Trump’s focus on the Bidens will prove more crucial than whatever Graham, who faces reelection in 2020, cooks up in his committee. In an impeachment trial, McConnell does not have the same sort of procedural power that he regularly wields, but he holds more clout than any Senate leader in a generation and can make his views known in a way that will probably determine outcomes on which witnesses to call and when to end the proceedings.

Some rank-and-file Republicans have begun suggesting that they would call one or both of the Bidens during an impeachment trial, something that would only require 51 votes in a Senate in which McConnell has 53 members in his GOP caucus…

As the presidential campaign took off in the summer, Biden’s work with McConnell and other Republicans seemed to be an Achilles’ heel for the former vice president, part of his seemingly out-of-step belief that if Trump is defeated, the days of bipartisanship could return to Washington.

Now, many congressional Republicans are playing to Trump’s burn-it-all-down ethos to savage Biden, who still talks about finding common ground if he can win the presidency. These Republicans have questioned Biden’s work in pushing for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor as his son served on the board of an energy company in the country, Burisma, despite the fact that U.S. and European leaders all supported his actions as part of an effort to oust corrupt government officials.