The story behind the Moon rock in the Biden Oval Office

Joe Biden wanted a Moon rock for his Oval Office.

That’s how two staff members from NASA’s Johnson Space Center ended up on a plane from Houston to Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 18, two days before Biden’s inauguration, toting “lunar sample 76015,143.”

The dark gray, diamond-shaped rock weighs about three-quarters of a pound (332 grams), and it is sealed in a glass and aluminum display case, filled with nitrogen, to prevent the rock from being affected by air or humidity.

Biden’s Moon rock was first spotted by a Washington Post reporter touring the redecorated Oval Office on Inauguration Day, before Biden himself had set foot inside. The Moon rock sits on the lowest shelf of the set of built-in bookshelves immediately to the left of the president’s Resolute Desk.

During planning for the incoming president’s office decor, “The White House curator’s office contacted NASA to see if it was possible to loan a lunar sample for display in the Oval Office,” reports a NASA spokesperson by email, “and NASA was happy to accommodate the request.”

Biden wanted the rock as a reminder of the ambition and accomplishments of previous Oval Office occupants—of the power of asking Americans to reach beyond themselves.

On Thursday, May 25, 1961, at 12:30 p.m., when President John F. Kennedy took the podium in the U.S. House of Representatives and issued his famous call that “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” Kennedy was asking Americans to do something that was then, quite literally, impossible. The country didn’t have the technology, or the understanding, to fly to the Moon. But, as Kennedy foretold, it would not just be American astronauts landing on the Moon, but “it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put [them] there.” Going to the Moon, Kennedy would later say, was the kind of goal that serves “to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.”

[Photo: NASA]

The particular Moon rock NASA sent to President Biden was collected on the third Moon walk of Apollo 17—that is, the last Moon walk of the last U.S. Moon landing, on December 13, 1972.

The sample was already mounted in its sleek display case—which has all glass sides and a glass window on top, so the rock can be seen from all angles—before Biden’s request. The case has a label that explains how the rock came back to Earth: Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan and geologist and lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt “chipped this sample from a large boulder at the base of the North Massif in the Taurus-Littrow Valley” of the Moon.

On the day it was collected, December 13, 1972, Biden had just been elected to the U.S. Senate for the first time from Delaware, and was preparing to take office in January. He was 30 years old.

Biden’s Oval Office Moon rock is actually a slice of the larger, 6.2-pound rock Cernan and Schmitt originally collected, which has been cut into smaller pieces for scientific study. As a result, it has one irregular side, peppered with tiny micrometeorite impact craters from its life on the Moon, and a couple of totally flat sides, where it has been cut using a rock saw in a NASA laboratory.

Biden is not the first U.S. president to keep a Moon rock in the Oval Office. Bill Clinton was president in July 1999 during the 30th anniversary celebration of the first Moon landings. The Apollo 11 astronauts—Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins—presented Clinton with a Moon rock they had collected, also in a sealed display case, during an Oval Office visit on the day of the anniversary. In a 2015 interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Clinton said the Moon rock was “the most valuable thing I had for perspective in politics in the White House.”

For the last two years of his presidency, Clinton told deGrasse Tyson, he kept the Apollo 11 Moon rock right at hand. “When we’d have Republicans and Democrats in [the Oval Office], or people on two sides of any issue, and they’d start really, really getting out of control, I’d say, ‘Wait, wait, wait—you see that Moon rock? It’s 3.6 billon years old. Now, we’re all just passing through here. And we don’t have very much time. So let’s just calm down and figure out what the right thing to do is.’

“And it worked every single time,” Clinton said. “They were looking at an object that existed at a time they could hardly imagine. And it just gave them that little bit of space in their mind and spirit to try to figure out, okay, let’s go at this one more time.”

NASA says the Moon rock Biden has on display is even older than Clinton’s: 3.9 billion years. Perhaps anticipating that his Oval Office conversations may be even more challenging than Clinton’s.

Charles Fishman is the author of One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Fishman wrote and produced our 50 Days to the Moon series.

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Return to office will be wobbly, handle with care

Were we unaware of how much it can take out of you to communicate meaningfully with bunches of colleagues in real life, or were our adrenal glands so used to running on caffeinated battery-stretch we’d evolved to soldier on?

Were our adrenal glands so used to running on caffeinated battery-stretch we’d evolved to soldier on?

And, who forgot to warn us that spontaneous small-talk skills would be yet another casualty of the blasted pandemic (why so first-day-of-school self-conscious)?


Why should we go back to the office at all, many are asking, when we’ve shown how reliable and productive we are in comfortable pants – even if at times we’ve wanted to smash the PC in fits of “log out and try logging in again!” pique.

We all acknowledge the oft-quoted downsides of being home 24/7: the lack of corridor conversations that can throw up ideas-gold, the “we are one” work-bonding, the fact you can never escape the housework mountain in front of your face, yet no-one can hear you scream (those within range practise selective deafness).

Working from home means we miss out on spontaneous collaboration with colleagues.

Working from home means we miss out on spontaneous collaboration with colleagues.Credit:iStock

And don’t forget the isolation, which many people discussed as “remote” working’s greatest drawback, especially for those who live alone and, introverted or not, find office contact enriching.

We return to our work tribes changed to an extent that perhaps we do not even realise.

No one is suggesting it can’t be, yet many are averse to being pushed, pulled or dragged back and this means what comes next is guaranteed to bring some wobbles. A recent survey by Swinburne University researchers for the Fair Work Commission found only 5 per cent of workers who were sent home during the pandemic want to return full-time, and last week The Age reported a “tussle” brewing between employers and staff over work arrangements for 2021.

According to the The Adapting to the New Normal: Hybrid Working 2021 survey of 600 workers and 300 employers, released by Pitcher Partners Melbourne, Bastion Reputation Management and Bastion Insights, managers are signalling they believe workers are “slacking off” while staff say they’ve been more productive at home.

Clare Gleghorn, chief executive of Bastion Reputation Management, said both employers and staff felt working from home had been a success, but warned if managers became increasingly distrustful and isolation became more entrenched there was trouble ahead.

We return to our work tribes changed to an extent that perhaps we do not even realise.

We return to our work tribes changed to an extent that perhaps we do not even realise.Credit:iStock

Given the “hybrid” model of some work in the office and some at home is likely to be most widely adopted, and the desire of many workers not (yet) to return, the next few months will involve plenty of compassion.

We return to our work tribes changed to an extent that perhaps we do not even realise. Many of us are more cautious, more wary of others and, particularly for those of us who went into long second lockdown, we are carrying the remnants of that puzzling cognitive fog that cruelled our moods and at times crippled our thinking.

Sure we could work through it, but living through it was hard. Summer and incremental freedom largely seared away the malaise, but the emotional echo rings on. I would be comfortable guessing that many of us are still experiencing bouts of feeling tangibly more vulnerable, a state exacerbated rather than relieved by the rough and tumble of pre-COVID office existence.

Employers would do well to understand that a reluctance to return is less likely motivated by a desire to get away with something (how can you, anyway, if your productivity is easily measured) and more likely fuelled by the memories and marks left over from being confined, uncertain and a little bit afraid.


It will take more than a few trips to the beach to clear the unsettling residue of 2020, so why not allow people to stay home until they feel less tender.

It’s no wonder the couch/computer/pet and coffee set-up is still so appealing to many, we know going back to hubbub will be a different type of tiring. For best results all round please handle us with care.

Wendy Tuohy is a Sunday Age senior writer. Twitter: @wtuohy

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Trump’s Diet Coke button on the Oval Office desk disappears

During the first full day as the 46th President of the United States, one of the first things that Joe Biden did was getting rid of the red button that Donald Trump pushed to get a glass of Diet Coke, Buzzfeed reports.

This may raise eyebrows, but when Donald Trump was president, he had a red button placed on his Oval Office desk. When he would push the button, a White House staffer would bring him a fresh can of Diet Coke.

According to The New York Times, Trump would drink about 12 cans of Diet Coke every day. A butler would bring Trump his Diet Coke on a silver platter.

As one can notice from the recent photos of Joe Biden sitting at the Oval Office desk, the red button is gone.

Having taken office, Joe Biden signed a number of documents overturning high-profile decisions of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

First off, Biden signed a decree that brings the USA back to the World Health Organization. Trump said last summer that the United States was pulling out from the WHO, because the organization had allegedly hidden the scale of the coronavirus pandemic in the interests of China.

In addition, the United States, by Biden’s decision, is returning to the Paris Climate Agreement. The United States will officially join the agreement again on February 19, the UN said.

Biden also stopped the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico and canceled the emergency regime on the border. The new president also signed the document on the abolition of restrictions that barred representatives of a number of countries of the Middle East from entering the United States.

During his election campaign, Biden promised to annul all of those Trump decrees and normalize USA’s participation in international agreements.

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Report says NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s office breached rules when documents were shredded

A report from the state’s record keeping authority has found the NSW Premier’s office broke the law when documents were shredded amid accusations of pork barrelling.

The State Archives and Records Authority is the second agency to assess the shredding of documents by the Premier’s office in the lead up to the 2019 election.

Staffers in Gladys Berejiklian’s office destroyed documents relating to the allocation of funding to mostly Coalition-held seats in NSW.

The Government was accused by Labor of using the money from the Stronger Communities Fund as a sweetener during the campaign.

The watchdog, which is charged with monitoring compliance with the State Records Act, found the document shredding was in breach of record-keeping laws.

But despite the breach potentially incurring a fine, no legal action will be pursued.

It found that while it was a technical breach of the act, clearer policies should be implemented.

The watchdog also concluded the record management handbook for ministerial staff was not adequate.

It comes after the Information and Privacy Commission cleared the Premier’s staff in its assessment.

In a statement, the Premier’s office said “the error” occurred because of unclear rules for document retention.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) report, which was partly released on Thursday, found no explicit wrongdoing which it could pursue within its remit.

But the SARA found the “unauthorised disposal” of the notes was in breach of the State Records Act and that the monitoring of records management in the Premier’s office was insufficient.

It also found the “records management information in the Ministers’ Office Handbook does not adequately support ministerial staff in their creation, capture, management and disposal of State records”.

Greens MP David Shoebridge has been chairing an inquiry looking into the handling of public records in the Premier’s office, including the shredding of the documents.

“These are damning findings from the state’s record office,” Mr Shoebridge said.

A spokesperson from the Premier’s office said the government supported all the recommendations made by SARA, which included developing a clearer records management program.

“The authority noted that the error occurred because the rules were ambiguous, and the advice provided on document classification and disposal was inadequate,” the spokesperson said.

“As such, there will also be enhanced training for ministerial staff to ensure they meet their responsibilities under the Act,” they said.

The matter had also been sent to the Independent Commission Against Corruption by the IPC.

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Report: Biden killed 52K American jobs on day 1 in office

Joe Biden holds up a mask as Kamala Harris looks on during an event at the State Dining Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 4:40 PM PT – Thursday, January 21, 2021

During his first day in office, Joe Biden killed around 52,000 American jobs and cut billions in wages as the country continues to struggle with staggering unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans from Alaska to Washington have already called the Biden administration’s agenda into question after he pulled the brakes on major sources for American energy.

“He rejoined the Paris climate agreement, putting the United States back in a position to exercise global leadership,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. “And advancing the objectives of the ambitious agreement.”

On Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel slammed Biden’s decision to undo President Trump’s efforts to put American workers first. McDaniel took to Twitter to point out several moves Biden has already made that put Americans on the backburner. These include canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

McDaniel said these moves show that Biden started his administration by putting the American worker, American unions and American energy prices last.

According to reports, blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will cost 10,000 American jobs and take $2.2 billion in payroll out of American workers’ pockets. This fact is highlighted by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who said the order will stifle economic growth.

Portman was among the first to respond to Biden’s environmental orders, urging him to reconsider.


Alaska’s governor also criticized Biden for putting a quick stop to oil development projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

On Wednesday, almost immediately after Biden announced the temporary ban on oil and gas activities in the region, Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) released a statement.

He said the state practices responsible development, adding if the current administration intends to make good on Biden’s campaign promises to stop drilling on federal lands, Alaskans’ economic future will be in danger.

Dunleavy concluded by stating he will use every resource possible to fight for his constituents’ right to a job and their ability to pursue every opportunity.

Meanwhile, in his press conference Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made it clear Republicans do not see these orders as moves in the direction of “unity.”

“You can’t achieve that [unity] if your focus is more on the Paris Accord, ending the Keystone pipeline,” he said. “Those are not the achievements that I think America wants to see out of Washington and unity.”

Moving forward, Republican lawmakers are calling for a review of the U.S.’s involvement in the Paris Climate Agreement, arguing Biden needs two-thirds support from the Senate to rejoin the international treaty.

MORE NEWS: Sen. McConnell: Biden Admin. Taking Big Steps In Wrong Direction

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President leaves office with legacy of chaos

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump will walk out of the White House and board Marine One for the last time as president Wednesday morning, leaving behind a legacy of chaos and tumult and a nation bitterly divided.

Four years after standing on stage at his own inauguration and painting a dire picture of “American carnage,” Trump departs the office twice impeached, with millions more out of work and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Republicans under his watch lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for the final major act of his presidency: inciting an insurrection at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation.

Trump will be the first president in modern history to boycott his successor’s inauguration as he continues to stew about his loss and privately maintains the election that President-elect Joe Biden fairly won was stolen from him. Republican officials in several critical states, members of his own administration and a wide swath of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have rejected those arguments.

Still, Trump has refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions surrounding the peaceful transition of power, including inviting the Bidens over for a get-to-know-you visit.

By the time Biden is sworn in, Trump will already have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, Florida, to face an uncertain future — but not before giving himself a grand military sendoff, complete with a red carpet, military band and 21-gun salute.

Guests have been invited, but it is unclear how many will attend. Even Vice President Mike Pence plans to skip the event, citing the logistical challenges of getting from the air base to the inauguration ceremonies. Washington has been transformed into a security fortress, with thousands of National Guard troops, fencing and checkpoints to try to stave off further violence.

Aides had urged Trump to spend his final days in office trying to salvage his legacy by highlighting his administration’s achievements — passing tax cuts, scaling back federal regulations, normalizing relations in the Middle East. But Trump largely refused, taking a single trip to the Texas border and releasing a video in which he pledged to his supporters that “the movement we started is only just beginning.”

Trump will retire to Florida with a small group of former White House aides as he charts a political future that looks very different now than just two weeks ago.

Before the Capitol riot, Trump had been expected to remain his party’s de facto leader, wielding enormous power as he served as a kingmaker and mulled a 2024 presidential run. But now he appears more powerless than ever — shunned by so many in his party, impeached twice, denied the Twitter bullhorn he had intended to use as his weapon and even facing the prospect that, if he is convicted in his Senate trial, he could be barred from seeking a second term.

For now, Trump remains angry and embarrassed, consumed with rage and grievance. He spent the week after the election sinking deeper and deeper into a world of conspiracy, and those who have spoken with him say he continues to believe he won in November. He continues to lash out at Republicans for perceived disloyalty and has threatened, both publicly and privately, to spend the coming years backing primary challenges against those he feel betrayed him.

Some expect him to eventually turn completely on the Republican Party, perhaps by flirting with a run as a third-party candidate as an act of revenge.

For all the chaos and drama and bending the world to his will, Trump ended his term as he began it: largely alone. The Republican Party he co-opted finally appeared to have had enough after Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol, hunting for lawmakers who refused to go along with Trump’s unconstitutional efforts to overturn the results of a democratic election.

But although Washington may have had enough, Trump retains his grip on the Republican base, with the support of millions of loyal voters, along with allies still helming the Republican National Committee and many state party organizations.

The city he leaves will not miss him. Trump rarely left the confines of the White House, except to visit his own hotel. He and his wife never once ate dinner at any other local restaurant; never ventured out to shop in its stores or see the sites. When he did leave, it was almost always to one of his properties: his golf course in Virginia, his golf course in New Jersey, his private club and nearby golf course in Palm Beach, Florida.

The city overwhelmingly supported Biden, with 93% of the vote. Trump received just 5.4% of the vote — or fewer than 18,600 ballots — not enough to fill the Washington Capitals hockey arena.

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Adam Schiff demands Trump is stripped of ability to get intelligence briefings when he leaves office

Adam Schiff says Trump should be barred from post-presidency intelligence briefings because ‘he cannot be trusted’ with nation’s secrets

  • Adam Schiff said Sunday that Donald Trump should be stripped from receiving post-presidency intelligence briefings because he is a threat to national security 
  • ‘There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future,’ the Intelligence Committee chairman said 
  • ‘I don’t think he can be trusted with it now and in the future,’ Schiff continued
  • Former FBI Director James Comey described that past presidents receive occasional briefings on the state of the world and if there are any direct threats

Adam Schiff said Sunday that Donald Trump should no longer receive intelligence briefing whether before or after his term ends as he cites national security concerns.

‘There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future,’ the House Intelligence Committee chairman told CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday morning.

‘I don’t think he can be trusted with it now and in the future, he certainly can’t be trusted,’ Schiff continued. ‘Indeed, there were, I think, any number of intelligence partners of ours around the world who probably started withholding information from us because they didn’t trust the president would safeguard that information and protect their sources and methods. And that makes us less safe.’

Although there are only three days left of Trump’s presidency, former FBI director James Comey said that former presidents are sometimes given intelligence briefings about the state of the world and potential threats.

‘My understanding is,’ Comey said during an interview with ABC’s ‘The View’ on Friday, ‘former presidents are, not all the time but on a regular basis, given general intelligence briefings about the state of the world and threats to the country.’

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday that Donald Trump should be stripped from receiving post-presidency intelligence briefings because he is a threat to national security

The House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for 'inciting an insurrection' by riling up a crowd before they stormed the Capitol. They now claim he should be convicted and no longer receive any post-presidency benefits, like pension, Secret Service detail or briefings

The House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for ‘inciting an insurrection’ by riling up a crowd before they stormed the Capitol. They now claim he should be convicted and no longer receive any post-presidency benefits, like pension, Secret Service detail or briefings

Comey revealed that the intelligence community wants to give former presidents ‘a picture of what’s going on in the world.’

‘They’re also given specific information if there’s a threat to them,’ he added.

Other than risking releasing future information, there are concerns from Democrats and from within the intelligence community that Trump could divulge sensitive information he learned as president to people who aren’t authorized to receive it.

Some have even raised the potential of him selling information to foreign adversaries.

‘We’ve seen this president politicize intelligence, and that’s another risk to the country,’ Schiff told CBS’ Margaret Brennen.

Schiff wants Joe Biden’s administration to ‘absolutely’ bar Trump from receiving any post-presidency briefings, claiming he is a security threat.

Post-presidential briefings, Comey said, are usually controlled by the director of national intelligence.

He said whoever fills that fole should ‘take a very hard look at whether Donald Trump should be given information, including any information that might be sensitive to the security of the United States.’

‘The guy’s a lying demagogue who you can’t trust,’ Comey said. ‘You want to be very, very careful about what you give him.’

Former FBI Director James Comey described Friday that past presidency do receive some briefings on the state of the world and, especially, if there are any direct threats to them

Former FBI Director James Comey described Friday that past presidency do receive some briefings on the state of the world and, especially, if there are any direct threats to them

‘I’m hoping that he will have been stripped of the perks of a former president by being convicted by the U.S. Senate and barred from further participation in public office,’ he said. ‘Maybe that will be a reason for them to cut him off entirely.’

The House impeached Trump on Wednesday for ‘incitement of insurrection’ after he riled up a crowd before they marched over to the Capitol and breached the building. Trump is now the only president to be impeached twice.

It is not clear if the Senate will vote to convict but all Democrats and 17 Republicans would need to vote in favor of the measure. If this were to happen, Trump would be stripped of his post-presidency benefits, like his pension and Secret Service detail, and would be barred from running for office again in the future.

Schiff served as lead manager for the first impeachment trial where the Senate did not vote to convict Trump on either of the two articles sent to the upper chamber from the House.


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$40m office complex divides

GDI Property Group’s $40 million timber-steel hybrid office complex proposal for St Georges Terrace has been approved, but not everyone is happy about it.

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Latest Restriction Eases In Victoria Announced Following 8-Straight Days

restriction ease

Victorian Government recently announced that mask rules will be eased and gave a green light that workers will be able to return to the office at a greater capacity.

The restriction ease has surfaced after the state had recorded eight straight days of no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

This was confirmed by Premier Daniel Andrews as he announced the ‘pause’ on the state’s return to work schedule was lifted, along with the plan prior to the Black Rock outbreak given the green light to go ahead.

This means numerous private businesses and its staff can return to operation with 50 per cent capacity. On the other hand, the public sector will be able to return to 25 per cent.

As per the Premier “It’s a positive step forward. I think pausing for the week was the right choice to make given there was some uncertainty, but now eight days of zero means we can make that announcement.”

In addition to the ease, mask-wearing will revert back to the earlier Christmas mandates, in which they are only compulsory in high-risk settings indoors such as supermarkets, shopping centres, hospitals, domestic flights, Ubers/taxis and public transport.

“We know masks have been a very important insurance policy. That extra level of protection against transmitting this virus.” Mr Andrews added.

As per record, more than 16,000 test results were received in the past 24 hours and the number of active COVID-19 cases has dropped to 29. The triple zero figures come as the state has issued fresh isolations rules for travellers who have returned from a Brisbane quarantine hotel.

Currently, there are six cases of coronavirus in Queensland that have been found to be the highly contagious UK strain of the virus, which all have been linked to the Grand Chancellor Hotel.

The Premier confirmed 18 people in Victoria were quarantining in the Brisbane hotel during the outbreak period of concern.

“We are contacting them, we are testing them. Some will need to isolate. Some will simply need to get a negative test. There’s not one blanket answer. It depends on when they were in hotel quarantine.”

Thus, Victorian health authorities have urged anyone who was a resident or worked at the hotel at any time on or after December 30 to self-isolate and urgently call Queensland Health on 134 COVID.

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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