On CNN Monday, former White House ethics czar and House impeachment counsel Norm Eisen argued that the January 6 Committee's criminal referral of former President Donald Trump for insurrection-related charges kicks off a new wave of legal battles around the country to remove the former president from the ballot, even as he seeks the Republican nomination for president for the third consecutive time.
This comes amid growing doubt that the former president even has the nomination locked up, as polls suggest he is slipping with Republican primary voters and allies speculate he may have little energy for the campaign beyond using it as a legal liability shield.
"When you think, Norm, specifically on this criminal referral of assisting or aiding an insurrection, that's a charge that is rarely used," said anchor Brianna Keilar. "It's hard to prove. What did you make of that being included in?"
"It hasn't been used since the Civil War," said Eisen. "Of the four charges that were brought today, it's the least likely actually to be charged by the Department of Justice, but in some ways it's the most important because, Brianna, part of the reason this committee has been so effective throughout constant surprises, this was a surprise, but they also meet the moment with drama. This lays down a marker, and I think it is true. Former President Trump aided and gave comfort to an insurrection. He assisted an insurrection. He was part of an insurrection. And so it lays down a mark, and it will be very important."
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Just as notable, Eisen continued, it lays down a legal basis for people to challenge Trump's eligibility for the ballot — challenges that have already happened for some far-right Republicans around the country.
"On the big battlefronts from coast to coast, people are trying to get Donald Trump removed from the ballot because under the 14th Amendment, Section 3 of the Constitution — just wrote a big report about this — under the 14th Amendment, if you give aid and comfort to insurrectionists, you help them, or you're part of an insurrection, then you can't run for president.
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