Senate Lacks Authority to Impeach After Trump Leaves Office

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) announced Wednesday after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump that he is against moving forward with the impeachment process in the Senate because the Senate “lacks the constitutional authority” to remove a former president.

Cotton expressed his opposition to impeachment proceedings in a statement Wednesday evening after the House voted that afternoon to impeach Trump a second time, passing one article of impeachment, 232–197, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” over last week’s riot in the U.S. Capitol.

“The Senate under its rules and precedents cannot start and conclude a fair trial before the president leaves office next week,” Cotton explained. “Under these circumstances, the Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president”:

Cotton’s statement coincides with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stating, after the impeachment article was passed, that it would not be feasible for the Senate to conduct an impeachment trial prior to Trump’s term ending on January 20.

McConnell has said the earliest date the Senate could receive the article to begin the process of a trial would be January 19, and even then, the proceedings would not begin until 1:00 p.m. the following day, after Trump has left office. “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact,” McConnell stated Wednesday, reaffirming the schedule he outlined last week.

Cotton, in his statement, emphasized his priority on “fidelity to the Constitution,” explaining that “the Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office—not an inquest against private citizens.”

“The Constitution presupposes an office from which an impeached officeholder can be removed,” he said.

Notably, Cotton was the first Republican senator supportive of Trump to come out against challenging the electoral college, again citing the Constitution and arguing that its intent was for the states to run the election, not Congress.

“Fidelity to the Constitution must always remain the lodestar for our nation,” Cotton said. “Last week, I opposed the effort to reject certified electoral votes for the same reason—fidelity to the Constitution—I now oppose impeachment proceedings against a former president.”

Write to Ashley Oliver at

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Coronavirus changed our world but Australia’s economic debate still lacks humanity | Greg Jericho | Business

This year the coronavirus dominated our life and our economy, and in doing so it revealed a few salient points about both. It also illuminated a few unsettling aspects about how people in positions of influence and power view them.

One of the more disconcerting characteristics about the virus is how it revealed how cheaply life is considered by many in positions of influence.

The demand for economic growth above all else was rather distasteful.

One journalist in the AFR went so far as to suggest some seniors like his 68-year-old dad “would not put their own life above the livelihoods of their children and grandchildren, if the economic and social costs become too great.”

Sorry dad, but you did say you’ve “had a good run”.

Hoo boy.

It’s bad enough to be indulging in a pandemic version of Logan’s Run, but that 68 was held up as old enough must have had more than a few of the AFR’s readers choking on their morning cereal.

Others sought to indulge in a real-life version of the trolley problem insisting that public policy is all about choosing how many people die – throwing around terms like “micromorts” and “QALYs” and suggesting the risks from the virus were the same as crossing the road.

This of course ignored that we have had over a century worth of data on road safety and on the development of car safety, and that road vehicles are subject to masses of regulation, as are drivers and pedestrians, and we have governments responsible for ensuring the maintenance of road conditions.

Also when you cross a road you are also able to judge the safety – unlike contracting an invisible virus.

If nothing else, this year did reveal that we should be grateful that many of those who cover government policy are not in charge of formulating it.

Nowhere was this more so than in the absurd push for us to follow Sweden’s approach.

Even after their less restrictive response was shown to be a failure, we still had those like Adam Creighton in the Australian arguing that “historians will struggle to see a public policy disaster in Sweden”.

Well, one thing historians (and the rest of us right now) can see is that by early December, Sweden had lost 744 lives per million residents to Covid, compared to 160 in Denmark, 82 in Finland and just 71 in Norway.

And of those Scandinavian nations, only Denmark had a significantly worse economic performance, while Norway’s was significantly better.

Graph not appearing? View here

The first half of this year showed a solid relationship between economic growth and prevention of deaths – essentially if you wanted to limit the damage to your economy you were best to limit the number of deaths from the virus.

As government stimulus packages kicked in the relationship was less solid, but it clearly revealed that the most fundamental choice governments had was not about economic growth but lives lost.

Weirdly some seemed not to grasp or care about that.

The virus also revealed a lot of things people liked to think mattered, didn’t.

Debt and deficit? Remember people obsessing this time last year that the estimate for the 2019-20 budget surplus had decreased from $7.1bn to $5bn? Ahh, good times.

It ended up being a $231bn deficit.

And what happened? Nothing – our credit rating remained AAA.

But so what? Early this month for the first time in three decades NSW’s credit rating was downgraded … and within two days the yield on NSW government 10 years bond had fallen.

No one gave a stuff.

And yet despite the world being upended, the government still would have us believe the old myths remain true – the talk of the need to get the budget back under control continues, as does that about unemployment benefits being a disincentive to work, that governments don’t create jobs, and that we need a more flexible IR system.

The virus changed our world and yet it has failed to change the way much of our economic and politic debate occurs – a debate which was revealed too often to have a distinct lack of focus on humanity.

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Finnish Covid-19 vaccine preform yielding promising results but lacks funding

A FINNISH PROJECT to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus is poised to move on to the second phase of animal testing after generating a positive immune response in mice, reports Mediauutiset.

“The animal tests have progressed well. We’ve been able to generate a very good immune response,” said Kalle Saksela, a professor of virology at the University of Helsinki.

Developed by Rokote Laboratories, a roughly two-month-old company co-founded by Saksela, the vaccine is administered as a nasal spray, producing stronger and higher concentrations of antibodies capable of neutralising the virus. The vaccine preform has been shown to create immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies, which are found not only in blood but also on mucous membranes and are thereby able to prevent the infection entirely.

“We’re very pleased, and we believe this [delivery method] was the right choice,” Saksela told Mediauutiset.

The potential to prevent the infection entirely with a single dose of the vaccine, as the team expects, represents a major improvement over the stated objectives of other vaccine development projects. Astra Zeneca, for instance, has said it would consider its vaccine a success if vaccinated people developed less symptoms than unvaccinated ones.

“I assume that the general understanding is that a vaccine’s task is to prevent an infection,” said Saksela. “But is it wise to set the bar so low just because you’re in a hurry?”

The vaccine preform developed by him and his colleagues is not delivered to cells “by force” with, for example, a gene gun but by means of adenovirus serotype 5, the most common viral vector used in clinical studies worldwide.

This effectively programmes the human body to produce the vaccine itself.

Funding, however, has proven an obstacle to the development. Saksela admitted to Mediauutiset that he is baffled at how difficult it has proven to secure funding, especially in light of the uncertainty created by the coronavirus epidemic.

“As a researcher, I was thinking probably a bit naively that as long as we do our part and develop a promising preform and demonstrate its efficacy tentatively, researchers, decision-makers and regulators in a country as small as this would take it upon themselves to push forward a national project like this.”

“Maybe it was a bit of a surprise or disappointment to me that that’s now how these things move forward.”

The team ultimately received ordinary research funding from the Academy of Finland. The funding is expected to suffice for early-phase human tests: for the first phase and possibly for parts of the second phase.

The clinical trials are presently expected to start at the turn of the year and conclude in the first half of next year.

The third phase of the process would require an additional 30–50 million euros in funding. It could start no earlier than at the beginning of next summer and produce a vaccine for the Finnish population no earlier than next autumn, estimated Saksela.

Pasi Kemppainen, another co-founder of Rokote Laboratories, said the company is content to monitor international vaccine development projects from afar, for the time being.

“We don’t feel that we’re behind, but rather that in some regards we’re already ahead of vaccines in the approval process. Our approach to using the vaccine and strategy for producing it are completely different,” he said.

“We have something that no other vaccine developer has,” he added. “We’re building a vaccine platform. The coronavirus is just one of many viruses. This adenoviral vector is a platform that allows for the development of other respiratory disease-related vaccines quickly and cost-efficiently.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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St Kilda’s sparkling style enlivens low-scoring AFL season, while Richmond lacks synergy

In a low-scoring season, negatively influenced by overly cautious ball movement, fear of turn overs and an emphasis on defensive structures, St Kilda is one of a few sides providing a sense of football fulfilment.

For the second time this season, I commentated a game involving the Saints on the weekend and came away wanting more.

The Saints approach to Saturday’s clash with Richmond was a stark indication of the self-assuredness flowing through the side from Moorabbin.

A careful approach to ball movement and denying the Tigers possession has been an effective method for stifling the reigning premier. But rather than follow the pack, St Kilda played its style. A style that’s both compelling to watch and effective.


The Saints filled a clear void in their playing list by adding genuine speed and evasive line-breakers. Bradley Hill, Zac Jones and Dan Butler have given them much-needed zip, zig and zag.

The Saints’ wins over the Bulldogs and Richmond were built around a style of football that’s exciting to watch and a departure from the modern defence-first mindsets that detract from the spectacle.

Brett Ratten has given his side the freedom to enjoy the game — to play with instinct and natural flair. There’s a want to move the ball quickly, a willingness to use the centre corridor or go long to a forward-line contest.

And when the ball is on the ground, look out. A crew of crafty crumbers including Butler, Jack Lonie, Dean Kent, Jade Gresham and Jack Billings, is ready to swoop.


Richmond clearly isn’t playing to the usual Richmond standard, but I fully expect the Tigers to be relevant again at the business end of the season.

In modern football, teams that are even just a few per cent off their best get beaten.

The Tigers are lacking their usual synergy and aren’t bringing their trademark pressure on a consistent basis, but write them off at your peril.

The slow start to 2020 has led to valid questions about Richmond’s desire and the form of key players has been rightly scrutinised.

Last year’s premiership-winning side is clearly frustrated by its lack of performance and that’s been reflected in several undisciplined acts in recent weeks.

Defender Nick Vlastuin lost his composure against the Saints on Saturday, while Jack Riewoldt’s forearm to the back of Hawk James Sicily last week was out of character.

Jack Riewoldt has scored 635 goals for Richmond in 266 AFL games, but has just one in his last three games.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

Riewoldt has been a magnificent servant of the Richmond Football Club. A three-time Coleman medallist and heart-and-soul competitor.

Much like the team, he seems flat. Grandstand expert and former Essendon Premiership player Adam Ramanauskas wants Riewoldt pushed up field to gain some confidence.

“But he wasn’t in the game today, the ball went to Lynch a lot.

“I just think Jack needs to come up the ground a little bit, just get himself into the play, come behind the ball, even put him on a wing for 10 minutes in a quarter just to get him going.”

On Thursday night Richmond plays West Coast on the Gold Coast. It’s a crunch game in this condensed season and one likely to shape the fortunes of two sides expected to contend this season — two sides slow out of the blocks and needing to take Usain Bolt strides from here.

A Port Adelaide AFL player pumps his left fist as he celebrates kicking a goal against West Coast.
Charlie Dixon nabbed six goals against the struggling Eagles.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

While Richmond and West Coast have perplexed, Port Adelaide has produced. The Power is the AFL’s only undefeated side, with a whopping percentage of 236 and a power-forward finding ominous form.

Physically, Charlie Dixon is a beast of a player and a nightmare matchup for defenders. He’s aggressive and imposing — like an old-growth tree surrounded by saplings in marking contests.


But despite these attributes, Dixon’s only been a sporadic performer, often cruelled by a few wonky limbs.

His six majors against the Eagles have him leading the Coleman medal. If Dixon can find some consistency he’ll take some beating this season — something his side has already proven.

Dixon’s former side, Gold Coast, claimed a third consecutive win with a 13-point victory over Fremantle. The Suns have been this season’s surprise packets and sit inside the top four with three wins and only one loss.

Gold Coast enjoyed a similarly productive start to 2019 and proceeded to lose their next 19 games. But this appears a different and, dare I say it, more trustworthy outfit.

The Suns will travel to Kardinia Park this weekend with justifiable belief they can win at a venue where they’ve lost on all five visits — three times by more than 100 points.

It’s a huge test, but don’t rule out a huge upset. After all, this is 2020.

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