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Trump Impeached A Second Time

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>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Welcome to Noon edition on WFIU. I'm your host, Bob Zaltsberg cohosting with WFIU News Bureau Chief Sara Wittmeyer. They were talking about the House's Wednesday vote to impeach President Trump and a lot of the other events that we're going through right now. Our guests today are Leslie Lenkowsky, O'Neill School of Public Affairs, Public and Environmental Affairs, professor emeritus of Public Affairs and Philanthropy Marjorie Hershey, professor emeritus at Indiana University's Department of Political Science, Gerard Magliocca, Samuel R. Rosen professor of the IUPUI McKinnie School of Law, and Taylor Bryant, who's the Monroe County Republican Party political director. You can follow us on Twitter at noon edition and you can send us your questions there. And you can also send us questions for the show and news at Indiana Public Media dot org. We're doing this show over Zoom so you can't call in with your questions. So I want to start with Margie Hershey. And Professor Professor Hershey has been with us many times over the years. And I just want you to start by sort of giving us a summary of where we are. And was this something you ever expected that you would see? 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: OK, thanks, Bob. I think that this is a good example of what is supposed to be the old Chinese curse. May you live in interesting times. Let's start where you left off last week on Morning Edition with the insurrection at the US Capitol. The insurrection led to calls to remove President Trump and also to investigate why there were so few Capitol police protecting the capital and whether organized activity was at the root of the fired. Political science tends to see public opinion in these cases and others as that kind of an invisible fence around elected officials. Inside the fence, elected officials have a lot of leeway to act without being punished by the public. And the elected officials don't know exactly where that fence is, but they find out very quickly when they've crossed it. And we saw the fence in reaction to that riot a week ago. Now, public reaction differed a lot by partisanship. The great majority of Democrats said they wanted the president gone. Only about one in eight Republicans said so. But that's still more Republicans than have opposed President Trump in the past. So the Democratic controlled House immediately tried three things, calling for the president to resign, which he ignored, calling for Vice President Pence and the cabinet to use the Twenty Fifth Amendment to remove him, which Vice President Pence refused to do. And finally on Wednesday, voting to impeach the president, which made him the first president ever to be impeached twice, which might be seen as a distinction because he loves being first and only the fourth US president ever to be impeached. But as our colleague from the law school mentioned in the Herald Times this morning, impeachment is just the first step of a two step process. The second is a trial in the Senate as to whether to convict him. The Senate is still Republican controlled until the state of Georgia certifies the victories of the two Democratic senators in the recent runoff, and the current majority leader, Mitch McConnell, refused to call the Senate back into session until this coming Tuesday. Now comes the challenge. The law says that once the House sends articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Senate must start acting on them within twenty four hours and then can only act on that article until it votes to convict or to acquit. The problem here is that incoming President Biden has a lot else it wants. He wants the Senate to do. Once he's inaugurated, he needs his nominees for Cabinet positions confirmed by the Senate. We need a new secretary of defense and secretary of state and to act on his proposals for a new economic stimulus and other things. It's definitely not in the new president's interest to have the media focusing during his first few weeks only on the former president. So the Senate is going to have to make some very important decisions. And it is the Senate's decision in the next five days when to take up that article of impeachment, when to have the House send it over, and how to juggle that with the new president's priorities. 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: Thank you for that summary. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: I want to go next to Leslie Lenkowsky. Les, you've spent a lot of your career. You spent working in Washington. I'm sure you've been in the halls of the Capitol many, many times. So I just want to get your reaction when you weren't on the show last week. Just get your reaction to the events as they unfolded in the last week and a half and where we stand right now. 

>>LESLIE LENKOWSKY: Well, I don't disagree with Professor Hershey's summary or the descriptions of others. But I do think, especially in these difficult times, it's important to look at the glass-half-full side of the equation. In the midst of a terribly deadly pandemic, an - a deep economic recession, a closely contested election, extreme political polarization, all sorts of conspiracy theories being bandied about on social media, a president fully willing to take advantage of this kind of turmoil and then ultimately a attack upon the United States Capitol, we nonetheless managed to conduct a transfer of power, at least during the process of doing so. Congress did resume meeting after the riot, the attack on the Capitol. We did vote to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president, a vice president of the United States. And it is extremely likely that next week we will actually inaugurate them, and a new administration will come into place. Now, given all the headwinds against that transition of power, I think it's remarkable and worth us all acknowledging that this transfer has taken place. There are issues such as impeachment, acquittal, the - what happens next with the pandemic and recession that are still going to be worked out and debated, as well as very fundamental issues about what to do with extremism on the left and the right in the United States as well as social media. But before we tackle those, we should acknowledge that we've really managed to accomplish what a democracy needed to accomplish. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Gerard Magliocca, I know that you have talked a lot about, you know, what impeachment means. And I want you to share that with our audience today. So the impeachment and the conviction of the president would mean what? I mean, why is - with - since he has now - what? - five days to go, I guess, in office, why would the Democrats be pushing so hard to impeach him? 

>>GERARD MAGLIOCCA: Well, there are basically two reasons. The first is a symbolic reason, that is if you think that what he did and what happened is so serious that it merits very harsh condemnation, one way to do that is through an impeachment and a conviction. The second is that through a conviction, the Senate can impose a penalty whereby the person convicted can never serve in office at the federal level again, which means that the president could not serve another term as president. So I think that latter point is kind of the thing that is motivating most people to pursue the impeachment, the thought that you can bar him from running ever again. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So what do you think it would say if there were no consequences for - to him from what happened January 6 then and, you know, the anger with him about it? 

>>GERARD MAGLIOCCA: Well, there has been a consequence in that there was another impeachment. And one can say that, well, he's the only president to have ever been impeached twice and, hopefully, the only president who will ever be impeached twice. Now, beyond that, I think it's more of a political question, right? If the president doesn't run again and is - and we conclude at some point that he is kind of a spent force in politics - then perhaps it doesn't matter quite as much that there were no further consequences. The consequence was, well, you've become very unpopular and kind of shunned when you do things like this. And that's the lesson for the future. Now, if you don't think that all of that is true, then the lack of any consequence beyond the impeachment - in other words, no conviction - that creates a problem, right? Because, you know, you could draw the lesson from last year's impeachment that the acquittal sort of sends a message that, well, everything was fine. Nothing wrong was done. And it didn't seem to chasten the president or others associated with him. So maybe another acquittal will just invite a repetition of what occurred, you know, whether it's at the next presidential election or just sometime in the future. So that's a problem. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. I want to bring Taylor Bryant. And Taylor is the Monroe County Republican Party political director. And I guess my general question to you, Taylor, is from a perspective of someone who's active - and you've been active in Monroe County politics since you were 13 years old, I understand. From that perspective, you know, what does this all mean? Does Trump still have - does President Trump still have a future in the Republican Party? 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: I think that the main question for Republicans right now is not so much does Trump have a future in the Republican Party and is more what does the Republican Party look like going forward. And I think that Republicans - one of the reasons they enjoyed President Trump so much was his policies, his America First-type policies. That was sort of refreshing, I think, to most Republicans. And so I think policywise, those will stick around and be a fundamental base going forward in the Republican Party. As far as the president, I have no idea whether he will, you know, try to run again, in four years what Republicans will think of him. But I do know that they have enjoyed the policies that have surrounded the president. And I think those are to stay whether the president does or not. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Well, let me follow up on that and just say, you know, it's hard to separate President Trump's policies from his personality. He's been a bigger-than-life leader in the United States. And as been noted many times and in all sorts of media, people who were attacking the Capitol last week were carrying a flag that said Trump. There were - they were far outweigh - there were more Trump flags there in the demonstration, the peaceful demonstrations outside and the attack on the Capitol than there were American flags or GOP flags or any other kind of flags. So, you know, can you - you know? How do you - how do those - how does the party separate itself into the policy debate from the personality debate? 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: I think a lot of leaders have adopted some of the policies that the president has been campaigning for these past four years. And I think that that's how we'll see the policy side really come forward in these next couple of years. As far as the Capitol goes, you know, I don't think I've talked to any Republicans yet that aren't just sad by what happened inside of the Capitol. Now, what happened inside of the Capitol and what happened outside are two different stories, I think, you know? I'm all for the First Amendment. I'm all for good protest. But when it turns into rioting and destroying especially our Capitol, I don't think anybody supports that. So there is that fine line. And I do think that the policies Republicans have adopted - and we will have no problem going forward with those, whether President Trump continues with our party or not. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. We're talking about the second impeachment of President Donald Trump and what's happening going forward today on Noon Edition. If you have questions or comments, you can send the questions to And you can also follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition. Sara? 

>>SARA WITTMEYER: This is a question from Gerard that we got from John. John asks, please specify all of the taxpayer-funded perks Trump would enjoy if he's not convicted in the impeachment trial. 

>>GERARD MAGLIOCCA: Well, OK. So under the current law that deals with former presidents, the president would be entitled to all of the benefits that all the other ex-presidents get even if he is convicted in a Senate trial. And that is because the law says that people - presidents who are convicted before their term ends are not eligible for those benefits, which means, presumably, that if you're convicted after your term ends, you are entitled to all those benefits. So Congress would have to change the law about former presidential benefits in order to deprive President Trump of his benefits. And if they did that, then there'd be an argument that they can't do that because that would be sort of applying it retroactively to him. I mean, former presidents get a lot of benefits. They get a pension. They get Secret Service protection. They get staff support, stuff like that. But basically, unless the current laws change, President Trump gets those benefits, whether he's convicted or not. 

>>LESLIE LENKOWSKY: This is Les. I think it's also worth reiterating the point Professor Magliocca made before, which is that he needs to be convicted. I think there's some doubt as to whether two-thirds of the Senate would vote for conviction at this point. Obviously, we haven't had a trial yet, so that could change. But it's a pretty steep slope to climb. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: One thing I would follow up with you on, Les, is the idea that the - that McConnell, the head of the Senate - Mitch McConnell - basically, you know, he did one of those Washington things. And he leaked the idea - or he leaked the fact that he was really angry with the president and that he was happy that they were going through this in the House, even though he doesn't appear to have 17 votes - that he would be such a voice against them. Do you think that that that could lead to the Senate choosing - senators choosing Mitch McConnell over Donald Trump? 

>>LESLIE LENKOWSKY: Well, Senator McConnell, as I read the statement, said that he welcomed the impeachment. He didn't - he was noncommittal as to whether he would vote to acquit or hold President Trump guilty. That is classic McConnell. So I think that we still not clear exactly which way McConnell would go. And as a result, senators - whether they would choose McConnell over Trump is a moot point here until we know where Senator McConnell stands on the question of guilt or innocence. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right, great. Marjorie Hershey, can you put this in some sort of perspective for us if there is a possibility of doing this, you know? Can the U.S. - how can the U.S. come back from the divisions that we have right now? 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: That's a really good question and a vital one, Bob. This is a dangerous time for our democracy. Political psychologists would tell you that any election is a dangerous time for a democracy because it generates an awful lot of emotional reaction rather than sort of cognitive - is this a good idea or is that a good idea? And although I think that Taylor raises a very good point when she talks about the fact that attitudes toward President Trump aren't just personal fondness but rather attraction to his ideas that I'm sure she'd be the first to say that Republicans are not a homogeneous group and that there are many Republicans who feel very strongly about the president with respect to abortion and America first and other - excuse me - Republicans who don't and who are primarily very attracted to his personality and his forcefulness and his feelings about race relations. I think that the real question now is that we've had polarization that's been increasing over the last couple of decades and longer and that this is resulting in a kind of a division that we haven't seen for a long time in American politics. In the mid-1900s, if somebody were to tell you that Bob Zaltsberg is a Republican, you really wouldn't be able to determine from that alone whether Bob was living in an urban area, whether Bob was white or nonwhite, whether Bob was very religious or secular. Now, what we've seen is that we've had a kind of a layering on of various other cleavages onto the partisan cleavage so that if somebody were to tell you somebody is a Republican, you could make a pretty good, accurate guess that that person is probably white, likely - more likely to live in the South, more likely to live in a small town or a rural area, more likely to regard religion as being a much more important part of his or her personal life. And as that happens, as people can more identify their party with a series of group divisions that overlay them, it starts to take on a more emotional and affective quality. We've seen a remarkably high percentage of people now who are willing to say that the other party's members are not only wrong on issues but less patriotic, less moral, more lazy and various other kinds of very emotion-laden feelings. That's going to be very difficult to overcome. And one thing that I would suggest if I don't take too much time here is that if anything, I think we're probably paying a little too much attention to national politics in this country, that that's where the symbolic kinds of politics occur, where the generation of emotion-laden symbols occur. It's obvious that the local community needs affect us probably more than national politics does and that it's just a lot harder to demonize somebody who lives down the street whom you see every day and who maybe you might help shovel snow or something than it is to demonize somebody who is far away. But it's going to be very difficult for us to pull away from that focus on national politics. It's natural for the media. It draws audiences, and it's very satisfying for a lot of people. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: I'm going to ask Taylor Bryant to respond to that because, Taylor, you don't fit a lot of the stereotypes that Marjorie mentioned. I mean, you live in Bloomington. You're a student. You're in the young person's demographic. Is it accurate - are those, you know, those caricatures kind of accurate for the Republican Party? And I think we know that - I think research has showed us that there is more of a likelihood that that is accurate than not. But how do you expand the party into a broader group of people? 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: Thank you. Look, I don't fit the mold as much as a - for a Republican, you know? I'm a 17-year-old female high school senior. And I've been a Republican for - you know, since I've gotten involved in politics. And it's less about the demographic of my party and more about the policy of my party. And I think that that's what attracts members to the Republican Party. I - look, I think both parties have a very distinct demographic following. And I don't particularly enjoy that. I would wish to go back to the days where we had a more wide following from around the country, and I think we will. I just think it might take some time and take some discussion like this, you know? Professor Hershey just brought up that we need to focus more locally as the American public. And I think that that's 100% right. I've been working in local politics a lot recently. And I can tell you it's a whole different scene than what you see on the national stage. You see people getting along much better than you do in our nation's capital. And that goes all the way up to the State House, too. So if people really just paid more attention to what was going on locally and seeing that local discourse between Democrats and Republicans, they would have a whole new appreciation for both politics and both parties. And our media does fuel that a lot, you know? It's not as attractive to look at the county council or our State House, but it is just as important. And I think that that was a very good observation in both parties paying attention to that. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. Can I ask - what are the policies that really particularly attract you to the Republican Party? 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: Policies that attract me to the Republican Party. I am a pro-life conservative. I believe in the sanctity of life. I also believe in the new economic policies. They're not as new. That's - being fiscally conservative has been around since the Republican Party was founded. I believe in lower taxes and less government programs and more small businesses and, you know, less government control of those businesses. And I also, as far as foreign policy goes, that America First is very important to me because if we can't take care of our own country, then then what are we doing? So those are really the big policies that stick out to me, why I'm a Republican. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. And if I may, you know, you are - you know, you just identified yourself as a 17-year-old. So this is a - you know, we - a lot of the people on this group have been observing politics. And this - what's happening this week is so unusual and so different. And I guess I just want to get your take on what you're seeing. I mean, are you are you shocked, appalled, disappointed, just thought we were headed this way? I just want to get your viewpoint on that. 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: I would say saddened and shocked, you know? When I saw what started to happen at the Capitol, I just remember thinking, well, I hope I never see that again. And I think that it's up to leaders on both sides to make sure that doesn't happen again. It will be about restoring America's trust not only in our leaders but in our elections and in our parties and all of those things. And it really does - it has to come from the top, you know? We were just talking about paying attention to local things, which is important. But we can't deny that our leadership does come from the top. Whether that be the Oval Office, whether that be the halls of Congress, those are the people who get the most attention and who people look up to. And I think it really should come from them, both sides to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. You're listening to Noon Edition on WFIU. That voice that you just heard was Taylor Bryant, the Monroe County Republican Party political director. We also have Gerard Magliocca, Samuel R. Rosen professor, IUPUI McKinney School of Law; Marjorie Hershey, professor emeritus, Indiana University Department of Political Science; and we have Leslie Lenkowsky from the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, a professor emeritus of public affairs and philanthropy. If you want to join us and send us your questions, you can send us - send them - I'm sorry - to Or you can follow us on Twitter and send questions there @NoonEdition. So I want to ask the other three of you - Taylor outlined sort of her views of what she hopes for in a political system that is somewhat cooperative on the local scene. Let me start with Les. And, say, you know, is that a possibility on the national scene? What's it going to take? 

>>LESLIE LENKOWSKY: Well, I - it's - it'll be very difficult. I just wanted to make one further point on the local issues that I know, Bob, you're aware of and Sara's aware of, and that's the erosion of local media, local newspapers and broadcast news. Much of our news comes through national sources even that which appears in local newspapers. And that means that we don't quite know as much about what's going on right around us as we do. I think there is a big question, nationally, about the role of social media. It's not a new question. We've been talking about it for quite some time. Social media allows people to become selective consumers, to get the news they want to hear rather than to learn about things that they might not support. Whether we can develop some sort of national media that is more inclusive, again, remains to be seen. President Trump did raise this subject when he talked about eliminating some protections social media currently have. That's worth a larger debate but only in the context of encouraging a more inclusive, more wide-ranging media environment at the national level. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. Marjorie, do you want to weigh in? 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: Sure. I think that's absolutely true. And it's a really serious threat to a democracy that our local media are withering on. I think it's also the case that we have to realize that those of you who are listening and those of us who are talking are very engaged in political questions. If we weren't, we wouldn't be here. Most Americans are not here right now. Most Americans are having lunch and listening to music and doing various other things. As a result, although, I really applaud Taylor's commitment to a series of principled stands.: Most people really aren't terribly well-informed about political issues. They're much more likely to perceive politics in the terms that they use with the people around them day-to-day. Do you like somebody? Does he or she make you feel like they're kind or that you'd want to have a beer with them? As a result, it's really not hard for political discussion, once it starts to generate a lot of public interest, to go very quickly into the emotional realm. And that's not a very safe realm for democracy to spend a lot of time on. A lot of political scientists in - several decades ago used to write that, actually, we ought to be very grateful that most Americans don't know squat about government and politics because they form a kind of a buffer that keeps those of us who do and who may feel strongly about it from ripping up democracy in order to get the values that we are strongly attached to. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: If I can follow up on that, do you think that that's a case where - I mean, I think that there are people that still don't know much about democracy at all. But they are - you know, they are probably the most passionate. I mean, you hear a lot of people who say what they - you know, what they believe and why they believe it. And it's just untrue. They've just heard it from somebody who has made it up. 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: Right. I suspect that part of this is this unusual confluence of threatening events that we're in the middle of right now. Conspiracy theories. People have been studying this in political science for decades. Conspiracy theories are much more likely when people feel unsure, when they feel a sense of a lack of control, when they feel that somehow there are big forces that are affecting them and they can't quite get a handle on it. And, you know, when you've got a pandemic, when you've got almost as many people dying in that pandemic as died from the American forces in the whole of World War II, when you've got an economic crisis, when you've got some people claiming that masks are somehow an intrusion on their liberty, it's not quite so surprising to find that there are actually people who think that our political leaders and entertainers are actually lizards who wear human skin and who worship the devil and who drink children's blood and have sex with them. I mean, that's objectively nuts, right? But it's not as unusual to imagine at a time when our lives have been upended for the last year and a lot of people are really frightened about what's happening outside their homes and what the rest of the world is likely to do to them. So it could be that we'll be benefited as, God willing, the vaccine spreads and the pandemic ebbs, and people won't feel quite so unsure about what happens in their future. 

>>SARA WITTMEYER: This ties directly into that - a question we just got from Patrick. Perhaps, Marjorie and Les, you can address it. But the question he says is - are we seeing the effects of the courting of conspiracy theories? The second part of his question - is this a wing of the Republican Party that will remain after Trump? Les, do you want to start? 

>>LESLIE LENKOWSKY: Yeah. Certainly, the president has given aid and comfort to the deeper conspiracies that have always been associated with the Republican Party. But you can also find similar activities on the left wing of the political spectrum as well. A few years ago, I was involved in bringing a very controversial speaker to the Indiana University campus. And as the agitation was going on, I received a call one afternoon from the IU police department that monitors, like a lot of police forces do, the deep web, telling me that my name had appeared on some board they were monitoring. And they would advise me to get protection, meaning to have a police officer stand outside my classroom. We have normalized this. While it has gotten much worse in the past four years, it has been going on to a degree before then, and I think we need to take that very seriously. 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: Let me just add to that - I think that's a very important point. I think that although there certainly is no shortage of wackos on the left wing, we've seen some recent research that I think is really important, that Larry Bartels, who is a terrific expert on American public opinion from Vanderbilt, did a survey that was a very scientifically drawn survey that showed that a majority of self-identified Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents agreed that that traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it. And 41% agreed of Republicans that, quote, "a time will come when patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands." I think that the Republican Party really has a challenge here in that it's had a great deal of reinforcement in the past four years and beyond that of more authoritarian sentiment. I'm not sure that sentiment would be as strong in the Republican Party if there hadn't been some very prominent voices that had encouraged it. But I think that's something that people like Taylor, who have some real principled concerns that underlie their Republican identification, need to make sure that that wave within the party is kept in check because we do some - it's an asymmetry between the parties to some extent right now. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Gerard, I wanted to get your opinions on this. You can react to anything that you've heard from those folks. But also, I wanted to ask, if you don't have a reaction to those things, about - you know, we have a lot of laws that protect free speech. And I just wonder if some of this false speech and the idea of - you know, the whole notion of this impeachment from inciting - you know, it's his words that the people are using to say that he incited a riot. I mean, where does the speech today sort of - I don't know what the right word is. But where - how does the law protect this speech today? And is it protecting it enough or too much? 

>>GERARD MAGLIOCCA: Well, one thing that we've learned is that the tech companies have a lot more control over what speech is permitted or not than the government does. And that's a problem in that, of course, they can do what they want and are not subject to any particular regulation or rules about that. And you could look at that either way. Either they were allowing too much before, or they're not allowing enough now. Now, some regulatory framework for the Facebooks, Twitters, et cetera of the world is going to be, I think, a priority for the new administration. But it's a very complicated business because of the First Amendment and because of other considerations, you know, things like antitrust law and so on. Now, when it comes to speech, more generally, look, you know, the - there have been conspiracy theories before. There has been - there's a famous book about the paranoid style of American politics, which goes through all the conspiracy theories that we've had over the years by different groups of people. The difference is that not - until now, no president had been amplifying those. And so that's a unique circumstance. Now, if you remove that, then I don't know whether what remains is any different in its severity than what we've had before. It could be, but I don't know. And so I'm not sure that the focus ought to be on changing the way the First Amendment is applied. It's more about thinking about what framework you're going to have to regulate tech companies that have a lot of say about speech because, of course, they are free to do things under the - you know, and don't have to pay attention to the First Amendment. They're not the government. But nonetheless, it's a little disquieting to think that if they decide they don't like somebody, they can boot them off. If they don't like something that's being said, they can get rid of it because, well, how are they making those decisions? Or who's making those decisions? Mark Zuckerberg, you know? So that's a serious problem. And I think a lot of people are going to be focusing on that in the next couple of years. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. We have about ten minutes to go on the program. If you have a question that you want to send us, Or you can follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition and send us questions there. We've had a couple of questions that come in, particularly for Taylor. And here's one - I'm going to read the first part. It comes from Pete. He says, part of the Trump popularity came from the religious leaders who endorsed him vigorously because of his stated anti-abortion position. And to paraphrase the rest of it, they basically - the question basically suggests that people looked at the anti-abortion position and they became single-issue voters. And the whole idea of character matters. A lot of the character aspects of President Trump were just ignored because of this one issue. How would - how do you react to that? Do you think that was going on in the Republican Party? And do you see that trend changing? 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: Well, I don't believe people voted for President Trump off of a one-issue concern. I don't believe that to be 100% true. I'm sure there were some Americans out there that - that is why they voted for the president. But we did have other people on the 2016 stage that were also pro-life. But - you know, I kind of want to go back to another - when we were talking about the extreme division and the radical wings of both parties. There is a radical wing of both party, you know? But those wings have become more attractive because people like that drama, that division because we - it's more eventful for them. It's more, like I said, attractive to them, whereas when we talk about local politics, it's not as attractive to watch a roomful of people talk things out, to get along and to get policies through. So I think, really, what our federal government should be doing is mirroring our local governments. And, you know, as far as the First Amendment goes, you know, social media grew so quickly to where the government regulations for it didn't - don't meet our modern-day Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and those things, you know? I'm all for less government regulation. But to some point, we can't - just like one of the professors said, we can't just have CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey controlling who can say what and when they can say it. So I think both - I think all of those things are very important. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Here's another question. And I'm going to give it to you the way it was stated and then add one other comment about it. So it says to Taylor, how would you like to see state politicians on both sides be more accountable to working in a bipartisan manner? Now, you know, if you think about Indiana and state politicians, you're talking about - this question is - how are you going to get more bipartisanship out of a very Republican State House? But if you transfer that to the Bloomington level and Monroe County level, it could be turned around. And how are you going to get more bipartisanship out of a very Democratic city and even a widely democratic county government structure? So, you know, how do you get these politicians who are pretty - have a lot of control and a lot of power - how do you get them to be more accountable to bipartisanship? 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: I think that that's a really good question. And we need to realize that we're not talking about the same issues that we're talking about on the national stage, you know? A lot of what goes on in the State House rather than their - I think there are about five core bills that - there are very heavily debated. But it's bridges and roads and just things like that that there is a lot of bipartisan talk and support about. And I think that one thing that we all need to keep in mind are Americans are adults. We can listen, and we can talk with one another. I know we may not see that represented in Congress as much or in the White House as much, you know, in any year. It always gets to that extreme level. But I encourage anyone listening and - to look and pay attention to our state politics and our local politics because you will see so much talking and listening. And I know even on our city council where there is - it's controlled by Democrats, there is not a single Republican member. There is still debate. And so there is debate still within our parties, too. So to say that the State House is just all Republican and we're just pushing that forward, you know, is not true. We see that - quite often is - there are - there is disagreement within the parties because people are just trying to find what is best and what they believe is best. So I think talking and listening is something that every American should take notes on and learn how to do. And we can look at that in our local and state governments. And then, hopefully, Congress can also take notes. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. 


>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Go ahead, Marjorie. 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: If I can add that - let me add to Taylor's point. I think the folks who wrote the Constitution were very wise in keeping in mind the need to keep politics separate from religion. I think that's been one of the challenges that we faced. I've seen a lot of social media posts by some of my right wing friends saying that they do believe that this is all been biblically ordained, that President Trump was chosen by God in order to do certain kinds of things. That really does add to the level of emotion and sense of righteousness to the political discussion. It's important to keep in mind that the First Amendment states that government should not favor any religion. It should not establish any religion, but it should also not prevent the free exercise of religion. That's challenging to work through in practice, but I think that we have permitted political discussion in the last few years to become much more infused with religious principles then is probably wise in a democracy. Religion is welcome in a democracy. But when we start regarding a president as having been sent by God, then the question of whether we're allowed to remove him by popular vote gets to be a little bit less clear. 

>>LESLIE LENKOWSKY: Well, it's - this is Les speaking. It's also the case that there's a lot of difference within the religious community as well. In his column this morning in The New York Times, David Brooks reports on what he considers significant splits within the evangelical Christian community over the events of last week with a crumbling - believe that's the word he used - of President Trump's support. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: We have just about five minutes to go. And I wanted to sort of circle back to the events of impeachment and where we are now and then the potential trial coming up. And I want to ask Gerard Magliocca first about, you know, what do you think is - you know, what would you expect will happen next? Do you think that - you know, that we will have a trial in the Senate, you know, within the next week or so? Or, you know, just how do you think this is going to play out? 

>>GERARD MAGLIOCCA: Well, the first issue that's going to come up is - can you have the trial at all? Is it constitutional to have an impeachment trial of an ex-president? That's a new question. And there is an argument that it is not permitted. Now, the point is not, well, is that correct or not; it's more like - are more than one third of the senators going to say that it's correct? Because if they do, then the trial probably cannot proceed because what's the point? I mean, at that point, more than one third are saying it's just an illegal trial anyway, so therefore they will not vote to convict. So if we get to that point, then, well, Congress will start to seek alternatives to impeachment and conviction to express its view or impose some sort of, you know, discipline on President Trump. If, on the other hand, enough senators think the trial can proceed, then it's going to be a long, drawn-out affair because there will be witnesses, and it will be like a regular trial with a lot of objections to testimony and conflicts and fights between the lawyers and the judge and, you know, everything that people either love or hate about criminal trials. So then we're in for a very long, protracted battle. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right, Marjorie. 

>>MARJORIE HERSHEY: I think that Gerard has done a great job of covering the legal aspects of this. Let me deal with the political aspects. And those will have to do with - how does an impeachment trial fit into the reelection needs of members of the Senate? There may well be a number of Republican senators who would be delighted to have President Trump eliminated as a candidate in 2024. But in the near term - and politics is almost always about the near term - the Republicans will probably find it to be much more useful for their reelection prospects to prevent President-to-be Biden from getting his cabinet nominees approved and from getting his initiatives put forward into the Senate. Senator McConnell was the one who said in 2009, our primary objective is to make President Obama a one-term president. I suspect that he hasn't changed greatly since that time. So the real issue then is whether or not it will be possible to bifurcate the Senate's day so that, for example, they deal with confirmation of President Biden's nominees in the morning and then deal with impeachment in the afternoon. I think that that's what the Democrats will hope to have happen, because otherwise it's really going to be tough for President Biden to start generating any momentum. But that requires at least something that the Republicans get in return because that's not in their interest. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Les, one minute. 

>>LESLIE LENKOWSKY: A former British prime minister once said the most important factor in government are events. And the major events are going to revolve around the Biden administration. He's committed, for example, to a hundred million vaccinations in his first hundred days. At our current rate, he's not going to come close to that. That'll be a problem for him. There'll be other issues as well, including things from other countries. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. And I want to just end with Taylor Bryant. Thank you for being here with us. Any last words that you want to give us? 

>>TAYLOR BRYANT: Thank you for having me again. I just - I think at the end of the day, it will come down to what Democrats want. Do they want to just be - get rid of this era of the politics that we're experiencing now and move on to President-elect Biden and his policies? Or will they want to continue to drag out the former - the outgoing president's time and his time and speaking and the Capitol? So it'll be interesting to see what happens there. I think that a lot has been accomplished with what the Democrats wanted to do as far as just impeaching the president and showing that they are very much against the acts that happened on January 6 than any other - really that they're just against the last four years in that second impeachment. So I hope to see the impeachment used as less of a political tool in the future and more as what the Constitution intended it for. But we shall see. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. We are out of time. Thank you to Taylor Bryant, Monroe County Republican Party political director; Gerard Magliocca, a professor at the IUPUI McKinney School of Law; Marjorie Hershey, professor emeritus, the IU Department of Political Science; and Les Lenkowsky, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, professor emeritus of public affairs and philanthropy. For our producer, Bente Bouthier, for engineer John Bailey, for my co-host, Sara Wittmeyer, I'm Bob Zaltsberg. Thanks for listening. 

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Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday, for the second time, to impeach President Trump­ – the first being the Trump-Ukraine Inquiry two years ago­­. This week, on Noon Edition, we’ll talk about the significance of this event and what it means for American politics.

The impeachment article charges President Trump with incitement of insurrection­, referring to a pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol last week after listening to him speak, as Congress met to confirm president-elect Joe Biden had won the election.

Ten House Republicans voted to impeach him, while none did in 2019.

The President is scheduled to leave office Jan. 20 and it is unlikely the Senate will take up the matter before then. 

And being convicted alone wouldn't bar president Trump from running for office again– the Senate would have to take a separate vote on whether to disqualify him from holding future office. 

He is the first US President in history to be impeached twice.

You can follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition or join us on the air by calling in at 812-855-0811 or toll-free at 1-877-285-9348. You can also send us questions for the show at

Note-This week of our guests and hosts will participate remotely to avoid risk of spreading infection. Because of this, we can't take live callers. 


Leslie Lenkowsky, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs professor emeritus of public affairs and philanthropy

Marjorie Hershey, professor emeritus Indiana University Department of Political Science

Gerard Magliocca, Samuel R. Rosen Professor, IUPUI McLinney School of Law

Taylor Bryant, Monroe County Republican Party Political Director

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