Removed from elucidating his place, Mr. McConnell has adopted a sphinx-like silence in public. As late as Tuesday morning, in response to Republicans briefed on the conversations, his personal aides had been unsure how he deliberate to vote on Mr. Paul’s movement. He has declined to elucidate his vote, telling reporters on Wednesday that as a juror within the coming continuing, he deliberate to maintain an open thoughts.

“Nicely, the trial hasn’t began but,” he mentioned. “And I intend to take part in that and take heed to the proof.”

His advisers declined to take a position on his pondering.

Mr. McConnell stays keen to maneuver past Mr. Trump. Whereas his Home counterpart, Consultant Kevin McCarthy of California, was set to satisfy Mr. Trump on Thursday in an effort to restore his relationship with the previous president, the Senate chief gladly advised reporters he had not spoken to Mr. Trump since Dec. 15, after Mr. McConnell congratulated Mr. Biden because the president-elect. He has advised allies he hopes by no means to speak to Mr. Trump once more.

But his public silence has left even among the most loyal members of his convention flummoxed.

Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who mentioned final week that Mr. McConnell had advised him to vote his conscience on issues of impeachment, ticked by a sequence of potential explanations for the chief’s vote on Wednesday.

“Perhaps that is a kind of votes you could be a mirrored image of your convention, and clearly he does that rather a lot,” he mentioned of Mr. McConnell. “Our convention was fairly overwhelming in its help.”

The vote clearly bewildered some Democrats, a few of whom questioned whether or not it was even well worth the effort — or the prices to Mr. Biden — to spend time on an impeachment trial destined as soon as once more for acquittal. Senators Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, floated a bipartisan censure of Mr. Trump in lieu of a trial, setting off a flurry of debate over the subject.

“To do a trial understanding you’ll get 55 votes on the max appears to me to be not the best prioritization of our time,” Mr. Kaine lamented.