(The Center Square) – Democratic Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline is leading an effort to ban former President Donald Trump from holding public office again.
Cicilline, a former Trump impeachment manager, says he will be filing legislation making the case that the Republican should be permanently prevented from running for president under a clause of the 14th Amendment, because he participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
In a letter to fellow lawmakers, Cicilline said Trump should be barred from holding office under the “Disqualification Clause” of the 14th Amendment, which says individuals shouldn’t be allowed to hold office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
“This language in our Constitution clearly intended to bar insurrectionists from holding high office in the United States,” Cicilline wrote.
Trump announced his intention for a third presidential bid Tuesday night at his Mar-a-Lago resort, ripping Democratic President Joe Biden’s record, and declaring, “America’s comeback starts right now.”
The House impeached Trump in 2019 for “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” over allegations regarding his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate acquitted him of those charges. Trump was impeached a second time in 2021 on the charge of “incitement of insurrection” following the Capitol riot, but the Senate also acquitted him of that charge.
Pointing to revelations from Jan. 6 select committee hearings, impeachment hearings and “reporting,” Cicilline told fellow lawmakers the evidence shows “Donald Trump engaged in insurrection on January 6th with the intention of overturning the lawful 2020 election results.”
It’s not clear whether Cicilline’s bill will win support from fellow House Democrats before the end of session, or how the process will play out if it wins approval.
Democrats will also be a minority in the next Congress, with Republicans winning control of the chamber on Wednesday after picking up the 218 seats needed to win a majority.
A recent report by the Congressional Research Service pointed out that the process of disbarring individuals from seeking elected office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is vaguely written.
The obscure clause was added in the 1860s to block officials who joined the Confederacy during the Civil War from holding positions in the federal government.
“The clause has been seldom used, and the few times it has been used in the past mainly arose out of the Civil War — a very different context from the events of January 6,” the service wrote. “It is therefore unclear to what extent historical precedents provide useful guidance for its application to the events of January 6.”