The top Republican in Congress has blamed outgoing US President Donald Trump for the violent mob that attacked the US Capitol this month.
“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said on the floor of the chamber.
It is likely McConnell’s last speech in his role, with the Senate set to be split 50-50 as of Wednesday.
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris, a Democrat, will be the tie breaking vote in the event of split decisions, giving her party an edge.
The comments by McConnell come as the Senate seems likely to soon hold a trial for Trump, after the House of Representatives impeached him last week for a second time.
Once the formal article of impeachment is sent over from the House to to the Senate, the trial can begin, with a two-thirds majority needed to convict.
It is unclear how many Republicans might join the Democrats for such a vote, which would also bar Trump from holding office again.
Trump is accused of inciting the insurrection, with fiery rhetoric that sought to delegitimise the victory of Joe Biden in the presidential election, including through allegations of voter fraud.
At least five people, including a police officer, were killed during the attack on January 6, which came just after a rally held by Trump.
Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday at noon local time in Washington DC (4am AEDT on Thursday).