House Dem floats legislation to bar Trump from holding office

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Former Trump impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has drafted a bill to permanently bar the former president from holding office “for leading an insurrection against the United States.”

Cicilline circulated a letter to Democratic colleagues laying out his case for invoking the 14th Amendment against Trump on the eve the former president launched his 2024 campaign for a second term in the White House.

“Given the proof – demonstrated through the January 6th Committee Hearings, the 2021 impeachment trial, and other reporting – that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection on January 6th with the intention of overturning the lawful 2020 election results, I have drafted legislation that would prevent Donald Trump from holding public office again under the Fourteenth Amendment,” Cicilline wrote.

He specifically referenced Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the “Disqualification Clause,” which states that no person shall hold any office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Cicilline said that his bill “details testimony and evidence demonstrating how Donald Trump engaged in insurrection against the United States,” citing findings by the Jan. 6 select committee hearings.

Trump, the congressman asserted, has “forfeited his right to ever hold federal office again for leading an insurrection against the United States.” Cicilline cited “proof demonstrated” through the January 6 committee hearings, the 2021 impeachment trial, and “other reporting” that Trump engaged in and encouraged the insurrection “with the intention of overturning the lawful 2020 election results.”

The Democratic lawmaker neglected to mention that the January 6 Committee has not alleged that Trump committed insurrection, the New York Times reported.

Trump was impeached by the House in December 2019 for “obstruction of Congress” and “abuse of power” over his communications with Ukraine. He was subsequently acquitted of both charges in the Senate.  

An invocation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote by both chambers of Congress.

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Professor Gerard Magliocca told Newsweek that, at present, there “is no such rule for determining that someone is ineligible under Section Three.”

“The only rule there is that Congress may grant someone an exemption from disqualification,” he said.

“The bill that the congressman [Cicilline] is talking about would only express Congress’s opinion that Trump is disqualified,” Magliocca continued. “Only a court can actually disqualify him. A congressional statement saying that Trump is disqualified would get some weight in the courts (much as a similar statement by the January 6th Committee would), but the courts would not have to agree.”

This article was partially informed by a The Hill report.