If A President Is Impeached, Can He Run For Re-Election? It's A Little Complicated
Over the past few days, the word "impeachment" has been at the tip of everyone's tongues. On Sept. 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she plans to open an official impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and the anticipation has been excruciating. However, there's some information people should know throughout this process. For example, if a president is impeached, can he or she run for reelection? Well, yes, but it's never been done before.
To put it lightly, there's certainly a lot happening in the political climate right now. Not only is the 2020 presidential election looming, but an official House impeachment inquiry towards President Trump is underway. However, there is still a chance that Trump could run for reelection in 2020, even if he's impeached by Congress. Under Senate rules, a vote to convict and impeach a president automatically removes them from office, but does not automatically bar them from holding office again, per Politico. The Constitution states, "Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.” But the Senate has traditionally treated the two punishments as separate, meaning that should the Senate vote to convict a president, which takes a two-thirds majority, they would then have to vote again on whether to bar him or her from holding office, which takes only a simple majority, per Politico. That, however, is pretty rare — in fact, it's only happened three times in American history, all to federal judges.
Notably, no president has ever been faced with the option. Only two presidents have officially been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999 — and both were acquitted. Johnson was not nominated by his party for reelection (though he later served again in the U.S. Senate), and term limits prevented Clinton from running for president again.
However, if Trump has proven anything during his three years of presidency, it's that he's certainly unlike former presidents. So, in this political climate, anything could really happen.
Before we start jumping to conclusions, it's important to know what an impeachment inquiry really entails. The thing is, an impeachment inquiry doesn't mean that President Trump will be impeached immediately. Instead, the inquiry marks the first step in a very lengthy process. Currently, six House committees are investigating the president, which, depending on what they find, could lead to articles of impeachment being filed for a full House vote. In order for a president to be impeached, the House must approve it by majority vote. If even one article of impeachment passes, then the president has technically been impeached and the proceeding will move to the Senate for a trial. In order to remove a president from office, two-thirds of the Senate must be in favor. Currently, the Republican party controls the Senate, so that vote could be difficult.
Some of the public might be eagerly awaiting more updates on the impeachment process, but it looks like President Trump isn't worried. Following Pelosi's announcement of the impeachment inquiry, Trump took to Twitter and referred to the action as "presidential harassment." He has also referred to Democrats' investigation into him as a "witch hunt."
On Sept. 24, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham referred to the inquiry as Democrats' attempt to "weaponize politics" and praised Trump's presidency in a statement to Elite Daily. The statement reads,
The Democrats continue to weaponize politics when they should be working on behalf of their constituents, which is nothing new. President Trump is working hard on behalf of our country here in New York City while they continue to scream the word impeachment. Nothing new here.
Just when we thought the upcoming 2020 presidential election would be the most dramatic event of 2019, we've been struck with even bigger news. For now, there's no telling whether Trump will be impeached or not, but even if he is, there's a chance he'll still be throwing his hat into the ring come 2020.