GOP senator says McConnell is ‘perfectly capable’ following health scares

Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said Sunday that Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell is “perfectly capable” of carrying out his leadership position after he froze in public for the second time in as many months.

“There’s a lot of folks out there who would like to see him go, but that’s because he’s a very capable leader. He’s one of these kind of guys that if you can take him out of the leadership role in advance, you might end up in a better position if you were a competitor of his,” Rounds told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” adding that “on the Republican side, we all understand that he’s good, he’s good for our party.”

“At this stage of the game, I think he’ll continue on,” Rounds said.

The vote of confidence comes as McConnell moves behind the scenes to reassure his allies and donors he can do his job – even as questions persist over how long the 81-year-old Kentuckian will stay on as Republican leader.

McConnell appeared to freeze for about 30 seconds last week while speaking with reporters after a speech in Covington, Kentucky. The incident was similar to an episode McConnell experienced at the US Capitol in July.

After the second freeze-up, Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending doctor for the Capitol, said in a statement released through McConnell’s office that the GOP leader is cleared to continue his schedule.

Attempt to bar Trump from 2024 ballot gains steam despite ‘dubious’ and ‘dangerous’ legal arguments

Some on the right and left have claimed that former President Trump could be disqualified from appearing on the 2024 presidential ballot. Several legal experts dismiss that theory as not just implausible but potentially dangerous.

The legal theory goes that Trump could be blocked from the ballot point as Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the Disqualifications Clause — bars individuals who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against America, or aided those engaged in such, from holding office.

The section also includes a provision allowing Congress to “remove such disability” via “a vote of two-thirds” in each chamber.

However, the argument for the Disqualifications Clause does not hold water, according to multiple legal experts.

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley says there “are good faith arguments in favor of this claim” but he views the theory as “not simply dubious but dangerous.”

“The amendment was written to deal with those who engage in an actual rebellion causing hundreds of thousands of deaths,” Turley said. “Advocates would extend the reference to ‘insurrection or rebellion’ to include unsupported claims and challenges involving election fraud.”

Turley said he has long criticized Trump’s January 6 speech, but he views the violence at the Capitol that day as “a protest that became a riot.” That definition would be crucial to applying the 14th Amendment, according to Turley, and Trump has not been found guilty of insurrection or incitement to rebellion.

“According to these advocates, Trump can be barred from the ballot without any charge, let alone a conviction, of insurrection or rebellion,” Turley said.

Turley said the proponents “also argue that there is no action needed from Congress” and thus, “state and federal judges could just bar those who are deemed as supporting rebellion through their election challenges and claims.”