Trump could still be barred from holding future office despite acquittal: Impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin

The Maryland Democrat said Section 3 of the 14th Amendment applies to Trump.

February 17, 2021, 7:08 PM

Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead House manager for President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, said on ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast Wednesday that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment could still be used to bar the former president from running for future office.

A constitutional law professor for 25 years, Raskin told ABC News Political Director Rick Klein that Trump was precisely who that part of the amendment covers.

"Donald Trump is right in, you know, the bullseye middle of that group," he said, referencing how the lawmakers at the end of the Civil War intended for it to be used. "And so, he really does fulfill exactly the constitutional prohibition there."

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bars any public official who swore an oath to protect the Constitution from holding office if they "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against it or gave "aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Raskin said how the amendment would be enforced remains to be seen.

"Presumably, it could be done both affirmatively and defensively," he said. "People -- you know if he tried to run for office again -- people could try to stop him in the states. It also conceivably could be an affirmative statement by state legislators, by Congress, by other institutions.

"So we'd have to figure it out and do some more research about all of that, but the point is that the constitutional purpose is clear, to keep people exactly like Donald Trump and other traitors to the union from holding public office," he added.

The Senate acquitted Trump for the second time Saturday after he was charged with "incitement of insurrection" for his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Seven Republicans joined Democrats to vote to convict Trump, but they fell short of the 67 votes needed to convict the former president.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Congress would establish an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot, similar to one established after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

House lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin speaks during a news conference, Feb. 13, 2021, in Washington, DC.
Alexander Drago/Reuters

Raskin told the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast that he supports a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. It should be either nonpartisan or bipartisan in nature, he said, and it should "definitely" have subpoena power.

"It should aim at the truth of both the events of (Jan. 6), and then also the causes of it and the continuing dangers that the republic experiences from this kind of, you know, this kind of assault on our democratic institutions," he said.

"Of course they should be able to get the testimony of the president and the White House chief of staff and other people involved," Raskin added. "What does it mean to have public office and not to subject yourself to public accountability? I mean that -- the whole idea is absurd."

While Raskin said managers got the evidence they wanted in the trial, he slammed Trump for not testifying.

"Everybody should focus on the fact that he doesn't want to testify," Raskin said. "Now here he is on Jan. 6 telling his most rabid followers that they have to show strength, because they're never going to be able to take back the country with weakness. They gotta go -- they have to show strength and they've got to go fight like hell. He won't even come and testify."

"You know, what a snowflake he is. He can't even stand up with the people that he counseled into a violent insurrection against the union and these people are facing hundreds -- or I haven't added up all the cases yet -- maybe 1,000s of years in prison," he added. "And he won't even come and speak for them."

House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin leave the Senate Chamber after the conclusion of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol, Feb. 13, 2021, in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Raskin said it was "meaningful information" that Trump was still saying that he won the election in a recent interview with Fox News but that it was not surprising.

"The big lie was the underlying premise of the violent insurrection and attack on the Capitol and it was the underlying premise of the president's absurd defense that he mounted at the impeachment trial," he said. "And it continues to be the premise of Donald Trump's political career and movement, such as it is."

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