A key paragraph in the House Democrats' articles of impeachment against Trump that nods to 2020

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  • It is possible that President Donald Trump is impeached and removed from office, but still eligible for re-election in the 2020 presidential race, per Article I, Section 3 of the US Constitution, as Insider's Grace Panetta reported.
  • The Constitution extends the consequences of impeachment as far as unseating and indicting a president.
  • However, one key passage in the articles of impeachment drafted by House Democrats and released on Tuesday, mentions disqualifying Trump from holding future office - which would require a second simple-majority vote in the Senate - in addition to impeachment.
  • "President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States," reads a passage on page five of the articles of impeachment.
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The House introduced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Tuesday focusing on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Constitution extends the consequences of impeachment as far as unseating and indicting an official, but a vote to impeach does not prevent them from running for office in the future.

However, at the end of the first article of impeachment on page five (which pertains to abuse of power) there is a paragraph that nods to the 2020 election. It reads:

"Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States."

This paragraph is significant for two reasons, as pointed out by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

First, "by emphasizing that Mr. Trump 'will remain a threat,' the Democrats are trying to counter the argument that since it is just 11 months until the next election, the matter ought to be left to the voters to decide," The Times' Peter Baker writes, in an annotation of the articles of impeachment. "In effect, they suggest the crime is continuing."

Second, The Journal points out that the second sentence contains a key phrase (emphasis ours): "President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States."

The process of impeachment takes a simple majority in the House of Representatives. The process then moves to the Senate, which holds a trial. The Senate then votes whether to remove a president from office, which requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Disqualification from running for office would then take a second vote in the Senate - one that only requires a majority to pass, according to The Journal.

"Such a vote would mean that he wouldn't be able to run for office again; without it, Mr. Trump could theoretically be removed from office but still allowed to run for re-election," The Journal reported.

However, as Insider's Grace Panetta points out: "While the House is controlled by Democrats, it's still not guaranteed that Trump will, in fact, be impeached. It's even less plausible for him to be convicted by the GOP-controlled Senate, which is currently made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents that caucus with Democrats."

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