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Trump still looms over national political scene

BY CHUCK WITT

Sun Columnist

The events of late 2020 and early 2021 will continue to generate commentary for the foreseeable future. News outlets will postulate in days to come, scholars will debate the issues for weeks, and authors will produce a host of books on the events for the next couple of years — books which will, for the most part, become passé almost immediately as the American public’s memory of the events fades.

Americans today have been witness to a huge array of unique occurrences. A president who failed to win re-election (not unique, but somewhat rare), a president who attempted to use his power in a very public way to overturn an election that had been determined to have been free and fair on more than 50 different occasions and before numerous courts (unlike in 2000 when a single court determined the outcome of a national election).

Also witnessed was the only second impeachment of a president in history and the most heinous and disgusting assault on the seat of government in this country since the burning of the Capitol in 1814. And certainly unique in the history of impeachments in this country is the fact that this last one garnered the highest ever percentage of votes to convict.

It was obvious from the outcome of the final Senate vote that too many senators (and too many representatives voting against the bill of impeachment) had forgotten that just days before their very lives were in danger when vandals armed with zip ties were within the halls of Congress intent on capturing members of Congress and escorting them to a waiting gallows that had been erected in front of the Capitol.

Just as importantly, Americans have witnessed the most venal example of cronyism in the U.S. Senate when Kentucky’s own senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, advantaged the most twisted logic in their acquittal votes. Both claimed that the impeachment was unconstitutional even though legal scholars across the political spectrum had declared the opposite, and that an impeachment of a politician already out of office had occurred once before.

And McConnell’s hypocrisy became even more apparent when, almost immediately following the impeachment trial and his vote to acquit, he proffered a lengthy speech before the Senate claiming that Trump was, in fact, culpable for everything that occurred on Jan. 6.

And now Donald Trump, in his usual ego-maniacal manner, is declaring that he has been vindicated and talks of running for president again in 2024 as part of a revitalized MAGA party.

Already, he is faced with numerous lawsuits regarding his financial dealings. The value of his properties is plummeting, and he may be indicted for trying to usurp the legal governmental functions in Georgia by trying to subvert the election there.

So, here’s the kicker. Even if Trump were convicted of any crime (save one, see below) related to his financial dealings, even if he were to be jailed after conviction, he would not be exempt from running for president again. Article II of the Constitution makes no mention of precluding a person to attain the office of president under those circumstances.

It would appear that the only way he could be prevented from running for the office again would be if he were convicted of (under the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3) having “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against [the Constitution of the United States], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Oddly enough, Senator McConnell, in his post-impeachment speech, accused Trump of doing exactly that.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.