McConnell has done little to hide his annoyance with the president, but allies say he is extremely unlikely to make a further break with Trump now. In fact, since his speech assigning blame to Trump, he’s said nothing to his colleagues about Trump other than referring to his contacts with the former president’s legal team, said one senator who attends meetings with McConnell.

“What we do talk about is that he’s spoken to the president’s attorneys. So he’s not in direct conversations with the president,” the senator said. The Jan. 19 speech “was his one outlet … he was very frustrated, that was why he did that one floor speech.”…

Notably, McConnell declined to hold the trial in the immediate aftermath of the House’s impeachment vote. He believed doing so would short-circuit Trump’s due process for the trial. But in delaying the trial until after Trump left office, he also helped steer the GOP toward its dominant argument.

A Republican leadership aide described a “palpable sense of relief” within the party that the GOP had coalesced around the constitutionality question. That allows members to acquit Trump on a process argument rather than judge the merits of whether Trump incited an insurrection.