It is often said that a successful indictment process would prevent Trump from running for president again. However, the accusation would probably be only the first step.
By Ben Buck and Wulf Rohwedder, editorial staff of ARD Fact Finder
If US President Donald Trump leaves the White House, he will continue to face a second indictment. What initially looks like a symbolic act has a specific background: If the indictment process is successful, it will pave the way for Trump’s expulsion from public office, and therefore from another presidential candidacy.
“The accusation would mean that Trump cannot run again in 2024.” However, this is by no means automatic, because the US Constitution is anything but clear at this point.
Higher obstacles – or maybe even lower?
For example, a two-thirds majority in the Senate is required for successful indictment proceedings, but this is not the case for expulsion. Some legal experts argue that the indictment is not necessary for a Senate vote on whether Trump can hold public office again. This would mean that it could also be voted on independently of the prosecution procedure.
As for the president, there has never been a precedent to guide you. According to the magazine “Time”, the Senate decided three times on expulsion from public office. However, in all three cases they were federal judges, decisions were taken by simple majority. If it were the same with Trump, he could, for example, have it checked to see if a two-thirds majority was not necessary in this process either.
New legal territory
Law professor Ross Garber told CNN that it is by no means clear whether the Senate can decide at all to exclude the presidency – the constitution only mentions “an office of honor, trust or profit within the United States.” However, he assumes that the presidency also falls under it.
Lawyers also disagree over whether Trump would have to relinquish privileges, such as protection from the secret service or his retirement, after a successful indictment.
One thing is certain, however: If the Senate rejects Trump’s further candidacy, this decision should be expected to be called into question. At that time, the necessary constitutional interpretation in court could take a long time.