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With former President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial looming, several Republicans in the upper chamber are reportedly rallying around the argument that impeaching a president who is already out of office is unconstitutional.
As The Dispatch and Politico note, scholars in legal circles that span the political spectrum generally disagree, and Trump himself suggested ex-presidents could be tried a year ago. Per The Washington Post, when Trump was impeached for the first time, he complained that Congress should be going after former President Barack Obama instead over comments he made about health care. "We should impeach him for that," Trump said. "Why aren't we impeaching him?"
Some of his staunchest allies in Congress concurred, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who stated explicitly in 2019 that former presidents are subject to impeachment. Gaetz didn't change his mind this time around, though he made the case Trump's actions aren't impeachment-worthy. Regardless, the comments raise questions about the sincerity of the argument.
Can’t overstate the importance of reporters conveying that this position was fabricated rapidly to give Republican senators dishonest cover to acquit Trump. Clearly evident in the genesis of the talking point. https://t.co/pC0nmIADoP
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) January 26, 2021