Impeachment constitution details

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The 2nd impeachment trial of former president Trump begins Tuesday morning. We took a look at the basics of the case, including the lone impeachment charge and the Trump response, with constitutional law expert and attorney Paul Bender.

At the beginning of the conversation Bender explained, “The charge is that he instigated the riot that happened on the 6th. I think that’s the only charge. The main response is that since he’s no longer president it’s not constitutional to move forward with the trial because the purpose of impeachment is to remove somebody and he has been removed by the termination of his term at the end of the term.”

In response to being asked if former president Trump’s team has a point in saying his impeachment is no longer constitutional Bender stated, “Yeah they have a point. You can’t tell from the language of the constitution what it is. The constitution says when you impeach when you convict he’s removed and he could be disciplined, so when you cant remove him can you discipline him?… It seems to me this is a pretty easy case because here the House impeached him while he was still in office, they clearly had the constitutional right to do that having done that the constitution says the senate shall try all impeachments, so the house impeached him it was a valid impeachment, so I think the senate has a good leg to stand to try that.”

However, he went on to express, “On the other hand its not entirely clear that that’s true because once he’s left office the main purpose of impeachment can’t be served. The only thing you could argue is that it’s important to go ahead and impeachment even though he’s no longer in office because if you impeach him and get a 2/3 vote to impeach you can then try to disqualify him from any future office of the United States and then apparently only needs a majority vote, so that’s the purpose of doing it.”

Paul Bender - Professor, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, ASU

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