If President Donald Trump were to be acquitted on articles on impeachment in a U.S. Senate trial and win reelection in 2020, he would be the first president in United States history to be impeached in the House yet win a second term. That’s one possible scenario, depending on what happens in a likely Senate trial and the 2020 presidential election. But journalist Lauren Frias, in an article for Business Insider, describes another scenario: Trump is removed from office by the Senate yet runs for president again anyway.
Frias and her colleague at Business Insider, Grace Panetta, have pointed out that according to Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, Trump could theoretically be removed from office by the Senate — assuming the House of Representatives indicts him on either or both of the two articles of impeachment announced this week — yet would be eligible for reelection in 2020. Being impeached in the House and later removed from office in a Senate trial, under the U.S. Constitution, doesn’t automatically prevent one from running for president again.
But Frias points out that one of the two articles of impeachment that House Democrats have announced this week “nods to the 2020 election.”
That article, Frias reports, states, “Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
Here’s why the “disqualification” part is important, according to Frias: the Wall Street Journal has noted that preventing Trump from seeking reelection in 2020 — were the Senate to remove him from office — would require a second vote in the Senate. And while removal from office would require a two-thirds Senate vote, disqualifying him from running for president again would only require a simple Senate majority.
The Journal’s Rebecca Ballhaus reported, “Such a vote would mean that he wouldn’t be able to run for office again. Without it, Mr. Trump could theoretically be removed from office but still allowed to run for reelection.”
Of course, it is most unlikely that a two-thirds majority in the GOP-controlled Senate will vote to remove Trump from office.
“While Trump is widely expected to be impeached over one or both of the two charges,” Frias explains, “he is far less likely to be removed by the Senate — which consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats.”