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Could Trump Really Be Disqualified From Holding Office Again?

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Illustration for article titled Could Trump Really Be Disqualified From Holding Office Again?

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP (Getty Images)

With the president impeached for a second time by the House of Representatives, stemming from his incitement of last Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol, there’s been certain murmurings among legal experts and members of Congress concerning whether Donald Trump could be forever barred from holding public office again if convicted.

The impeachment process is a slog, characterized first by a vote in the House, followed by a trial and then a vote on potential conviction by the Senate. It’s still early in the process, with the House voting on Wednesday to impeach the president for “incitement of insurrection” by a margin of 232-197.

If the president is convicted by a two-thirds majority in the Senate, it raises the prospect of the door slamming shut on Trump’s ambitions to hold future political office. Per the language of the Constitution, an individual convicted in impeachment proceedings can be removed from office, or subject to “disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”

With the Trump administration’s time running out before Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, the latter possibility might seem more promising to lawmakers who’ve been eager to bar the president from potentially taking the Republican party’s nomination in 2024. The circumstances surrounding this issue aren’t entirely cut and dry, however, but dictated by Constitutional interpretation.

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