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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said on CNN's "State of the Union" he believes the impeachment trial is constitutional, despite former President Trump no longer being in office.

Driving the news: Some Republicans have objected to hearing the impeachment trial in the Senate, saying it would be unconstitutional to convict a former president.

What he's saying: "I think if you put aside the partisan columns that are written in various publications and look at those that are written by academics, you'll find that the preponderance of the legal opinion is that an impeachment trial after someone has left office is constitutional," Romney said.

  • "I'll hear what the lawyers have to say for each side, but I think it's pretty clear that the effort is constitutional."

Worth noting: Romney was the only Republican senator to vote to impeach Trump during the president's first trial before the chamber. The Utah senator appeared to signal that he would potentially vote to convict Trump.

  • "I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?"

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Sen. Leahy back home after being hospitalized

Sen. Patrick Leahy inside the Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 25. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) left the Washington, D.C., hospital he was taken to for evaluation on Tuesday and has returned home, his spokesperson David Carle confirmed.

Why it matters: The 80-year-old is president pro tempore of the Senate and is expected to preside over former President Trump's second impeachment trial, for which proceedings are set to begin the week of Feb. 8.

Big Tech's reputation takes a pandemic plunge

Expand chart
Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Americans have fallen further out of love with Big Tech, the latest Axios/Harris 100 brand reputation poll shows.

Why it matters: Even though Americans were hyper-connected to their devices throughout the pandemic, their relationship with many of the world's biggest tech firms has continued on a downward trend, suggesting that people see their products as necessary evils.

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