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FEATURING COREY BRETTSCHNEIDER – Shortly after the United States Senate voted for a second time to acquit Donald Trump, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday delivered a speech that sounded remarkably like that of his Democratic colleagues in his condemnation of Trump. McConnell issued his most public and visceral denunciation of the former President’s incitement of his supporters to commit violent acts at the Capitol building on January 6th.

But then McConnell sharply veered from Democrats in claiming that his vote to acquit Trump was done in order to protect the United States Constitution because in his mind the Senate could not vote to impeach Trump once he had left office no matter how guilty he was. McConnell’s logistical gymnastics are indicative of the disarray within the Republican Party that wants to abhor and embrace Trump and Trumpism simultaneously. But what does this mean for the U.S. constitution and the power to impeach Presidents?

Corey Brettschneider, professor of political science at Brown University. He is the author of When the State Speaks, What Should It Say: How Democracies Can Protect Expression and Promote Equality. His latest books include The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents, and On Impeachment.

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