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The U.S. Senate is expected to begin the second impeachment trial against former President Doanld Trump today for his alleged role in last month’s insurrection on the Capitol building. GBH Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu spoke with Northeastern University law professor and GBH News legal analyst Daniel Medwed about this second trial and why the move to impeach the former president again is constitutional, despite some claims that it’s not. 

Joe Mathieu: The big question is whether it’s constitutional to impeach someone who’s no longer in office. And we want to get to this this morning because a lot of people have been talking around this. What are the main arguments, Daniel, that it is constitutional?

Daniel Medwed: The main arguments are grounded in the text of the Constitution and in public policy. And we’re going to see them in their full glory today because the Senate may devote up to four hours  yes, four hours  to debating this precise issue. So first, just looking at the text, Articles One and Two of the Constitution talk about impeachment. Nowhere do they expressly limit this power to sitting or current office holders. And a long standing trope of legal argument is, if a law doesn’t tell you you can’t do something, you basically have the green light unless a court or some other entity tells you otherwise. Second, and I think more compelling, [is] public policy. A lot of people point out the perverse incentives that would be created if you couldn’t impeach someone who has just left the office.

 

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