Why are they trying to impeach Trump again instead of just blocking him

from running again in the future? Impeaching seems like a waste of time since it’s unlikely to get enough votes, but blocking him from running for president again in the future only requires a senate majority.

You can’t do the block before you do the conviction, as I understand it. I don’t have an immediate cite for that.

They aren’t trying to impeach Trump; they did impeach him. And the reason they impeached him was in the hope of blocking him.

I’m not sure what you think is happening.

I think he’s taking about the 14th amendment remedy:

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that no public officials who had “previously taken an oath” to support the Constitution will hold office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Correct, but from sounds of it that requires a conviction first, which I didn’t know.

I’m not sure it does. It’s a wholly separate thing than the impeachment consequence. I don’t know how it was used (if at all) post Civil War, but the Constitution itself doesn’t explain the mechanism.

That’s how I understood it until the first 2 posters ripped into me :slight_smile: From the article you posted:

“Kaine noted that the 14th Amendment could be pursued before or even after a trial if senators weren’t able to convict Trump. He added that while there were “extensive discussions” going on about pursuing the 14th Amendment, the decision was ultimately up to leadership.”

So they aren’t necessarily tied to each other.

There seems to be some confusion among pundits about the Senate’s authority to sanction a current or former president, which is done via a separate vote after the Senate convicts and prevents him from ever holding federal elective office. The language of the Constitution is unclear on whether this requires a supermajority vote or not, but by precedent (consisting of three impeached federal justices) is that it requires only a simple majority. There is a separate provision in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment which can be used to prohibit people from holding federal office if they are deemed to have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the Constitution. This requires a majority vote of both houses of Congress; however, this is separate from the impeachment vote that the House of Representatives has already made.

As for why to impeach Trump; it is a public test of character for Republican senators as to whether they will recognize on the record that what Trump did on 6 December was to incite insurrection. Although some of the newsheads were speculating early on that there might be enough support to get ten Republicans to vote for convictions, predictably enough of them are of insufficient vertebral fortitude to actually stand up and do their duty to uphold the Constitution and call out the man who very clearly spurred on a crowd to commit insurrectionist acts in pursuit of his goal of interfering with the certification of the Electoral College vote. After the Senate fails to convict, the Democratically-controlled Congress can go back and invoke Amendment 14 Section 3. I’m sure some people hope that this will further marginalize GOP hardliners, but given that Trump managed to get almost 74 million votes, presumably in many of the states of senators who will vote against conviction, it probably does them more good than harm to protect him.


The House has a constitutionally ordered remedy against an evil bastard so-called president. That remedy is impeachment, so that’s how they’ve responded to the insurrection.
We’ll see soon how seriously Senate republicans take a dead cop. Among others dead.

Donald Trump is in large measure morally culpable for the deaths of over 400k Americans through inaction, disinformation, science denialism, and suppressing the advice of public health experts, and they don’t seem to give a good whore’s fuck about that. Nor, apparently, do many of their constituents.


If the senate just got together and said “Let’s make it illegal for, specifically, Donald J. Trump, the 45th president, to ever hold office again,” and had nothing like a conviction to back up allegations of criminal activity, the chances are pretty good that the supreme court would call it a bill of attainder, something forbidden in the body of the constitution.

The necessary parts of a bill of attainder are that it’s a law that singles a particular person out for punishment after declaring them guilty in the body of the law.

A bill of attainder is probably illegal even when there is a conviction, because otherwise it would be a way of getting around sentencing regulations. Someone could be actually guilty of something, even something heinous, and a judge could issue the maximum penalty in law, and then an attainder could single that person out for something not allowed by law.

It would be a way for the federal government to override the states-- if someone commits a murder in a non-death penalty state, and gets the harshest punishment allowed by law-- something like “Life plus 100 years”-- it could be overridden by the federal government passing a law sentencing that particular person to death. It might also be considered a type of double jeopardy.

And since, in this case, an impeachment followed by conviction, will accomplish everything the legislature wants.

I hear ya. But this dead cop was a Capitol cop, there to protect the politicians, and who was killed as the senators in question huddled under their desks and pulled their knees to their chests. Let them state it for the record.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says, in full:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Given the language in the Constitution, I agree with @RivkahChaya: the law can’t merely declare him guilty. It would have to use an actual conviction from the judicial system.

I disagree it would require a bill of attainder if he were convicted, though. Once convicted, the clear language of the Constitution itself would make him ineligible, just like if he didn’t fit any of the other constitutional requirements. And since the Constitution specifically says Congress can override, I don’t think there’s any argument that anyone else could.

And the fact that it is directly stated in the Constitution would mean that it is a permissible override of the states. Only powers not mentioned in the Constitution are reserved for the States, per the 10th Amendment.

To reply to the OP: I suspect the issue is that a criminal trial is actually more difficult and will take a lot longer than a Senate trial. And he’d have to be convicted of things that are listed, and not some other related (or unrelated) crimes.

Saying he actually “took part” in a “rebellion” or “insurrection” rather than inciting them, or that the seditionists count legally as “enemies of the United States” would actually be somewhat hard to prove in Court.

I didn’t mean to say that I thought a bill of attainder was necessary post-conviction. I just said bills of attainder couldn’t be used to punish someone outside of statutory limits. That is probably the reason they are even mentioned in the constitution. In Europe, they were mostly used to keep unqualified people in a royal family from the throne: “George, Duke of Clarence, is a fool and a drunkard, and can’t be king of England. That goes for his offspring as well.”

It absolutely would not require a bill of attainder if he were impeached, or even convicted in a regular criminal court. Which is another reason one is not necessary.

From what I gather, the most effective way - perhaps the only way - to invoke the 14th amendment in a way that is legally valid is to either impeach and convict him in the Senate or to convict him in a court of law.

Just invoking the 14th amendment wouldn’t legally bar him from federal office again. States could potentially take matters into their own hands and try to keep him off the ballot, which might actually be the best way to go if we wanted to block his ability to run for president again.

But to be honest, I worry that impeachment is a waste of time and might, yet again, backfire and give Trump a stage that he’s seeking, one that he doesn’t have right now, especially without twitter. In one of the greater ironies of history, some observers could argue that it was Adolf Hitler’s trial for treason that gave him a platform from which he was able to elevate himself.

Hitler’s not the only authoritarian politician who has used the threat of prosecution and impeachment as political aikido against opponents, either. These people need attention – they cannot live without it. I worry that an impeachment might be bringing him back from the dead.