Federalist Society co-founder and 150 legal scholars say Trump can be still convicted in Senate trial: report
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

One tactic Republicans have been using to avoid holding former President Donald Trump accountable for his role in the deadly insurrection by his supporters crumbled on Thursday under scrutiny from legal experts.

Politico reported that more than 150 legal scholars have signed a letter stating that Trump can still be convicted in an impeachment trial even though he is no longer president.

"The House impeached Trump last week, for the second time, in a 232-197 vote for "incitement of insurrection" following the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob that left five people dead. As the impeachment process moves into its next phase in the Senate, the signatories of the letter are seeking to counter an argument that has been gaining steam among some Republican senators: that it would be unconstitutional for the Senate to hold an impeachment trial for Trump now that he is a private citizen," the report explained.

In the letter, the signatories noted their diverse legal viewpoints. "We differ from one another in our politics, and we also differ from one another on issues of constitutional interpretation," the signatories wrote. "But despite our differences, our carefully considered views of the law lead all of us to agree that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents."

"Impeachment is the exclusive constitutional means for removing a president (or other officer) before his or her term expires," the attorneys wrote. "But nothing in the provision authorizing impeachment-for-removal limits impeachment to situations where it accomplishes removal from office. Indeed, such a reading would thwart and potentially nullify a vital aspect of the impeachment power: the power of the Senate to impose disqualification from future office as a penalty for conviction."

Letter on Trump's post-presidency impeachment exposure.Screengrab.