WASHINGTON — As the Senate prepares for a second impeachment trial for President Donald Trump, there is no guarantee that he will be convicted. 17 Republicans would have to join the Democrats to make that happen.
Several members of Congress have looked into a little-known amendment that could exclude President Trump from office: The 14th Amendment.
What is the 14th Amendment and how does it apply to President Trump?
Section Three of the amendment could exclude the president from running for office again.
Section Three of the 14th Amendment. Dr. Mark Graber, Constitutional Law expert from the University of Maryland.
What We Found:
In the middle of the push for a second impeachment for President Trump, University of Maryland Constitutional Law professor Dr. Mark Graber said he got an interesting call from a member of Congress. They wanted to know about the 14th amendment to The Constitution.
“The reason why I was zeroing in on [the 14th Amendment] is for the last four or five years, I've been writing a book on the forgotten 14th amendment,” Dr. Graber said of why he got the call.
In addition to his book, Dr. Graber has written several articles on the 14th amendment. It’s safe to say he is one of the top experts on it.
“The 14th amendment is the big post-Civil War amendment,” he said. “Section Three is the part we are concerned with. It says, the short version is, anyone who participates in an insurrection is ineligible for state or federal office.”
According to Dr. Graber, there’s no trial just a simple question to Congress:
“It's for Congress to determine whether there was an insurrection and whether somebody participated.”
Both chambers of Congress would then vote to invoke Section Three of the 14th amendment.
Here’s the key: An impeachment conviction requires two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote for conviction. Section Three of the 14th amendment only requires a simple majority vote.
That majority is just 51 votes in The Senate. Then President Trump would be disqualified from ever holding office again.
That’s why a member of Congress called Dr. Graber about this forgotten section of a forgotten amendment.
“It was left there for those of us who play Constitutional Law ‘Trivial Pursuit,’” he said. “Until a week ago.”
RELATED: VERIFY: If a president is impeached, will they lose benefits like security detail and pensions?