President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.Al Drago - Pool Via CNP via ZUMA

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To avoid conviction at former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Trump’s lawyers will argue that the impeachment itself is unconstitutional. But one scholar whose work they are relying on to make that claim has weighed in to say the lawyers “misrepresent what I wrote quite badly.”

In a brief written for the Senate and submitted Monday, they argue that because Trump is no longer in office, he can no longer be impeached. For Republicans hoping to acquit Trump, letting him off on a technicality without focusing on the horrific events of January 6 has obvious appeal. But the notion that Trump cannot be convicted once out of office is a minority view among constitutional scholars—and it is not the view of Brian Kalt, one scholar Trump’s lawyers repeatedly cited. An impeachment expert, Kalt wrote a 2001 article that endorsed the constitutionality of a so-called “late impeachment.” But he is used again and again in Trump’s brief to argue the opposite.

Perhaps Professor Kalt would make a good witness at trial—for the prosecution.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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