Now that Donald Trump has been acquitted in his historic second impeachment trial, Democrats may still attempt to ban the former Republican president from seeking office again by invoking the 14th Amendment.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not rule out bringing legislation to bar Trump from office.
“We’re first going to finish the impeachment trial, and then Democrats will get together and discuss where we go next,” Schumer said, as reported by Fox News.
Trump is the third American president to be impeached and the first to be impeached twice. In late 2019, the Democrat-led U.S. House impeached him on two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The GOP-led Senate acquitted Trump on both charges in February 2020. Prior to Trump, only Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton had been impeached. Both were also acquitted by the Senate.
The latest impeachment charge — authored by U.S. Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Ted Lieu of California — alleges Trump incited the violence that led to a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Two-thirds of the Senate was needed to convict Trump. The vote was 57-43 against Trump, but he was acquitted.
Democratic senators have discussed in recent weeks that they might invoke the 14th Amendment, which says Congress can bar people who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. from holding office.
According to the U.S. Senate archives, the amendment was passed by the Senate on June 8, 1866, and ratified two years later. Besides granting citizenship to all persons “born or naturalized in the United States,” including formerly enslaved people, and providing everyone with “equal protection under the laws,” it also banned those who “engaged in insurrection” against the U.S. from holding any civil, military or elected office without the approval of two-thirds of the House and Senate.
The amendment prohibited former Confederate states from repaying war debts and compensating former slave owners for the emancipation of their slaves.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, has reportedly been on the forefront of the 14th Amendment push, and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, late last month called it “intriguing.”