Impeachment managers: Trial is referendum on Trump ever holding office again

Source: Politico | January 17, 2021 | Nolan D. McCaskill

Conviction of the soon-to-be former president will require the votes of at least 17 Republicans in an evenly divided Senate.

A House impeachment manager acknowledged on Sunday that one reason for charging President Donald Trump with incitement of insurrection was to prevent the outgoing commander in chief from trying to become president again.

“One of the other purposes of impeachment in this case is to make sure that President Trump is not able to run for federal office again, that he’s not able to seek the presidency,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”

“The reason for that is that somebody who incited a riot, an attempted coup of the United States government, should not be president again,” he continued. “So it’s not just about making sure that there are consequences to his behavior. Certainly it’s that, but even after he’s left office, it’s also making sure that he can’t run for president again.”

Castro is one of the nine impeachment managers House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced last week, shortly before Democrats and 10 Republicans voted to impeach the president for inciting a deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. Led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lawmakers will serve as prosecutors in the looming impeachment trial in the Senate, which isn’t expected to begin until after Joe Biden is sworn in as president on Wednesday.

But interviews across the Sunday political talk shows indicate that the trial could serve as a referendum on whether Trump should be able to seek federal office again, a decision that could affect his grip on the party and reshape the future of the GOP.

“The Constitution, of course, talks about conviction, removal and disqualification from holding further public office,” Raskin told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Raskin described Trump’s actions — the president falsely claimed for months that the election was stolen from him and even sought to pressure elections officials to overturn the results before encouraging a mob of supporters to march to the Capitol as Congress was set to certify the electoral count — as “the most serious presidential crime” in American history and “the most dangerous crime by a president ever committed against the United States.”

He argued that Congress shouldn’t set a precedent allowing outgoing presidents to incite insurrections to become dictators and avoid impeachment and conviction if the coup attempts are unsuccessful “because we just want to let bygones be bygones.”

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