Trump impeachment manager Cicilline rallies Democrats to ban former president from public office

One of the House Democrats who led the second impeachment effort against former President Trump is rallying support in Congress for a bill to bar Trump from holding public office again.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., on Tuesday sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues arguing that Trump has “forfeited his right to ever hold federal office again for leading an insurrection against the United States.” He asked for co-sponsors on legislation that would prevent Trump from holding public office again under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The letter was circulated to House Democrats hours before Trump announced his third campaign for the White House.

Cicilline, who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., named as an impeachment manager after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, accused Trump of instigating an “insurrection” against the government and argued the Constitution bars him from becoming president again.

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Rep. David Cicilline speaks to reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus on July 19, 2022.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

He cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was written in the 1860s to prevent former U.S. officials who joined the Confederacy during the Civil War from occupying positions in the federal government.

“This language in our Constitution clearly intended to bar insurrectionists from holding high office in the United States,” Cicilline wrote. “Given the proof – demonstrated through the January 6th Committee Hearings, the 2021 impeachment trial, and other reporting – that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection on Jan. 6 with the intention of overturning the lawful 2020 election results, I have drafted legislation that would prevent Donald Trump from holding public office again under the 14th Amendment.”

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Former President Donald Trump gestures during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on Nov. 15, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Rhode Island Democrat said his legislation “details testimony and evidence” collected by the Select Committee on the January 6th riot and reports on the events of that day to make the case that Trump helped to plan and encouraged an insurrection to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election.

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Rioters loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2024 in Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday night. Speaking to supporters gathered at his Mar-a-Lago residence, Trump hammered President Joe Biden’s record and declared, “America’s comeback starts right now.”

He did not mention his two separate impeachment trials, first for allegedly leveraging U.S. foreign aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Biden family, and the second for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, but he did cast himself as a “victim” of the “festering rot and corruption of Washington, D.C.”

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The 2024 Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Cicilline’s legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond when asked if Cicilline’s bill would be taken up for a vote in the lame-duck session of Congress.