Sean Hannity says Trump can be President while in jail

“Sean Hannity claims that Trump being sent to jail would not necessarily be a road block of any kind in terms of him deciding to run for president in 2024.”

Interesting point and basically correct.

Eugene V. Debs was in a penitentiary, serving a ten-year sentence, when he lost the 1920 presidential election.

Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law, a pre-eminent constitutional scholar, has pointed out that Trump could run and even govern from his cell, quipping that Trump could even deliver the State of the Union address ‘via Zoom while wearing orange prison garb.’” Other legal scholars seem to be in unanimous agreement.

The original Constitution, amended by the 14th and 25th Amendments, covers the qualifications for the office of President, as well as the reasons and procedures for removing him or her. The bottom line is this: Political office is the one job where the candidate is not required to have any employment-related qualifications. You don’t need an education. You don’t need to be intelligent. You don’t need to be sane. You don’t need a clean criminal record. You can literally be in jail. As long as you will turn 35 before assuming office, have lived in the country for at least 14 years, and are a native-born citizen, you’re golden to be President as long as you win the electoral college. Basically, the President of the USA has a lower bar to clear than a KwikStop night clerk.

The 14th amendment does add another requirement:

No person shall hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.

So Trump could be disqualified if he is convicted of that specific crime.

Some liberals have quoted 18 U.S. Code § 2071, subsection b, to say that Trump could be disqualified for mishandling the documents sought in the Mar-a-Lago raid, to wit:

Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.

While it is technically correct that Trump could have violated this law, and that a conviction would disqualify him under the law’s terms, that paragraph is clearly unconstitutional. If Trump were convicted of that and wanted to run for President again, he would petition the courts, and the Supreme Court would allow him to run without even debating it. The Constitution specifies the requirements to install or remove a President, and the Congress can’t declare new procedures on its own. That’s obviously a violation of the separation of powers, but over and above that it’s just plain silly. If the Congress had unchallenged power to establish new requirements for the Presidency, today’s Democrats could write a new law disqualifying anyone who was over 180 pounds. Such shenanigans are unconstitutional, and the Constitution itself is difficult to amend.

29 thoughts on “Sean Hannity says Trump can be President while in jail

  1. I used to think I had a pretty good understanding of the Republican Party. I am significantly less confident of that than I used to be, but I am pretty confident that the Republican Party is not going to try to repeal the 19th Amendment. Let me rephrase. I have no doubts that the GOP will not add a plank to their platform calling for repeal of the 19th Amendment. But I will concede there may well be a few wack-a-doos, in Congress or out, that might call for its repeal+

    If you had said the GOP would never nominate a woman a few years ago, I would have had an answer. Among conservatives, one of the most admired and respected world leaders was Margaret Thatcher. But these days it doesn’t quite seem that the GOP is listening to conservative intellectuals. But my gut says the 19th Amendment is safe. I would suggest we could bet on whether the 19th Amendment is repealed and whether the GOP will nominate a woman. The problem would be the time frames. If I bet no repeal , How long do we give the repeal to happen, before I win the bet?

  2. The question is, if he’s convicted of espionage, would the GOP actually try to field him as their candidate? It’s been clear much of the establishment is done with him as it is, the McConnell bunch. I’m guessing that’s that and they’d use it as plenty good reason to ditch him publicly and try to recover.

    Those cats know longevity. It’s these young dipshits like Gaetz and Hawley who think he’s the future. The old guys know they’ve gotta keep getting hired once this fad ends.

    1. Except for a few extremists, the conservatives loathe Trump already, and are willing to say so off the record, but they want to use the immense Trump bloc to their own advantage. So I guess the answer to your question hinges on whether the Trump crazies would turn on anyone who refused to support Trump as the nominee.

      It’s my impression that the members of his flock actually believe that all the charges against Trump are … um … trumped up, so they would want him as the nominee no matter what he is accused or convicted of. In fact, they probably assume that any charges against Trump are just further evidence of the dreaded deep state conspiracy, and those charges would cause them to close ranks still tighter around him.

    2. As sure as they’ll keep quackspeaking that the election was “stolen”, most of them know that he lost; they will bail on him unless they think the fix is in. Throwing traitor/spy on top of his assorted other crimes won’t change much.

      This isn’t great news, DeSantis or someone with a similar occasional competence could do a lot of damage. I wouldn’t bet on Sleepy beating anyone. Except Trump.

      1. I wonder if Sleepy Joe will run again. He’s had a good week or so, but he still seems more feeble every time I see him, so I reckon he’ll seem much worse in 2 1/2 years.

        Who is the back-up plan? Gavin Newsom?

          1. btw, the commercials just write themselves ie Trump and the Jan 6 insurrection, top secret documents at Mar-a-Lago, etc. etc.

            Repeating, a day is an eternity in politics ~ stay tuned!

            Yielding back the balance of my time …

        1. Democrats are hating Biden. This speaks terribly of democrats. They essentially want him to “fix it” in some way that suggests they are as separated from reality as the GOP. They were raised with the notion that Obama was a literal superhero in some of their storybooks so they honestly think Biden can just wave his hand and make things better. The long held belief that government can fix any problem that most liberals have latched onto just isn’t working so well in post Trump America where most of the effort is in fixing stuff he broke and foolishly coddling Manchin while he plays double agent and is fellated by both sides openly and without guile.

          So they want Biden gone. They’re not voting for him again. The DNC would be crazy to run him again. The problem is, they’ve got no backup. Newsom? The idiot who can’t figure out how to keep businesses and people from fleeing California as fast as they can go? The liberal version of governor goodhair? The guy who botched every aspect of pandemic management so badly his state barely survived and wound up being the only blue state that was the source of every major superspreader event? He’s an empty head who only ran for governor because he thought it’d be easy, then when faced with two crises he fucked them both up hard, fast, and continuously. He has zero to offer on any level. I dunno if he can even carry the CA vote, and it isn’t like that’s in jeopardy to the GOP anyway.

          Kamala can’t win. She’s done zero as VP and was a terrible choice there. The safest possible black female choice which is why they chose her, and which is why she was a bad choice. You don’t cater to people who would find her palatable in that kind of election.

          Against DeSantis? Run ANY OTHER sane, electable Democrat and you win. He’s a complete blithering idiot, his state is a wide awake nightmare that’s the laughing stock of the nation, and he’ll be eviscerated in any debate by anyone. This is a cat who thinks “I’m more conservative than Trump, Disney are child molesters” is a platform. Bring THAT on, Elmer. Let’s see how that plays in Peoria.

          1. That sounds OK until you start to add specifics. Who is that sane, electable Democrat in the under-70 division?

            I admit that Pete Buttigieg is a flat-out star: brilliant; measured; veteran; best press conferencer since JFK. I’d vote for him, but I’m not sure the country is ready.

            Roy Cooper? Gretchen Whitmer? Adam Schiff? Amy Klobuchar? Cory Booker? Chris Murphy?

            Loopy is still available.

          2. Don’t underestimate DeSantis. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale and got his law degree from Harvard. His deal is manipulating the morons, not being one.

            With Trump, you never know whether he is being disingenuous or stupid. With DeSantis it’s obvious that he’s just a hypocrite playing to the base.

  3. Pussy-grabbing aside, the feeb cheats at golf and found a way to go bankrupt running a casino. That he was ever voted in once shows that this is not some academic scenario.

  4. If Trump shared secrets with foreign governments, that’s no different than what the Rosenbergs did and they received the death penalty.

    1. Not that you’re unclear, but I’ll just add that if a POTUS dies in office, there’s an automatic replacement process & if before, I believe the taking of office might fail at the swearing-in step. In short, death could be a reason why the shine might go off a person’s goldenness otherwise to become or remain POTUS.

      1. I don’t like the guy very much, but the frequent political commentator of the 1980s and 1990s (or so) Jeff Greenfield wrote a fictional book of a President elect who died before the Electoral College voted called The People’s Choice.

        1. Yup. That is one situation where chaos would ensue. The procedures are clear if the President-elect dies between being voted in by the electoral college and the inauguration, but the situation is quite murky if he/she dies between the election and the vote by the electoral college.

    2. Well, death would definitely make it difficult for him to deliver the SOTU.

      That’s an interesting wrinkle. In theory he could still be President, still controlling the nuclear codes, until the very moment that the executioner flips the switch. (Unless the 25th were invoked successfully before the execution.) You’d like to think that such a scenario is ridiculous, but with Trump and his legion of crazies, you never know.

  5. Eh, IANAL, but AIUI & IMO, it was & is kosher for Congress to impeach & the Senate to convict a non-sitting ex-POTUS & while the kick out of office action would be moot, it could be followed by a vote to permanently bar that’s less clear SCOTUS would necessarily strike down. (This is fiction, of course, even if legally true.)

    1. I’ll add, re: “why the Constitution is so hard to amend”, I’d say I don’t necessarily believe reasons that may have been given. We can’t read minds, not even of living persons. I’d give BS as the justification to always adapt laws to modern values regardless of original intent.

    2. Yup. The constitutional impeachment process does give the Senate the option to bar the convicted person from future office. In previous impeachment trials it has been established that, while a 2/3 vote is required to convict, a simple majority vote may bar the convicted from holding future office. Some federal officers who have been convicted by the Senate have been barred, others have not. One recent member of the House (Alcee Hastings) was impeached by the House and convicted in a Senate impeachment trial when he was a federal judge. Despite the very serious charges against him, the Senate did not vote to bar him from future office at that time, so he eventually made his way back into the very chamber of the House that had impeached him.

      Even if the impeachment of a FORMER President were to sneak through the legal cracks and vault all the procedural hurdles, it’s doubtful that 67 senators would vote to convict, and conviction must precede being barred from office. I doubt if 67 votes would happen even if Trump gunned down Paul McCartney on live TV at home plate in Yankee Stadium, then he and Putin jerked each other off onto a picture of Jesus.

      1. Thomas Porteous was the answer to a great trivia question before he died a while ago.
        There are only 4 people who are ineligible to run for President while meeting the other qualifications.
        3 2 term Presidents (Bush, Obama and Clinton) and
        Thomas Porteous, who was convicted by the Senate and disqualified.

  6. Despite their considerable intellectual deficits, this round of fascists has shown remarkable creativity on a few occasions.

  7. “Democrats could write a new law disqualifying anyone who was over 180 pounds.”

    Requirement to be President: no fatties. That would definitely rule out Trumpty-dumpty.

    1. I haven’t weighed less than 180 lbs since I was in elementary school, so that requirement would make me ineligible. But I would gladly give up my theoretical eligibility (I was born in Missouri, turned 35 in 2003, and have never lived outside of the United States) if that meant Trump could never be president again. Besides, my preferred 2024 candidate is Nikki Haley and she definitely looks to be well under 180 lbs.

      I wonder, if it was necessary to be president again, if Trump would be willing/able to diet and get himself under the limit. He is 6′ 3″ so even if he trimmed most of his fat, he’d probably still have a hard time getting under 180. But my college roommate weighed under 180 lbs and he was 6′ 8″. Bill didn’t quite disappear when he turned sideways, but he was THIN. As someone with a completely opposite metabolism (my pediatrician switched me to skim formula as an infant), I was somewhat jealous of the way Bill could eat and drink without gaining weight. He did have an unfortunate tendency to develop “beer muscles.” The more he drank, the more he started to believe he was tough enough to beat up anyone else in the bar. Bill could look pretty tough if he put on 5 sweaters and a ski jacket. But the bar across from our apartment where we hung out and drank was normally way too crowded and warm to dress that way. I was friends with the bouncer so we never had any issue getting in/served. I stopped in their one News Years Eve for my first legal drink at midnight. A couple of hours later there was a huge fire that gutted the bar. It was almost as though God was saying to me: “now that you are 21, you don’t need this bar anymore.” They used the insurance to remodel and because of that they actually started to keep out underage drinkers. As a legal customer that was great because the bar was never crowded. It was probably less great for the owner.

      1. Nimrata Randhawa hmm absolutely no gravitas notwithstanding and bowed down to Trump like all his other lemmings aside actually agreeing to be on his “team” she has no chance.

        ok, ok, never say never, but does anyone actually think a female would ever be the Reps nominee for potus. Definite bridge too far for the foreseeable future, eh.

        More likely is Reps trying to rescind the 19th amendment …

    2. They actually can’t, because the qualifications are set in the Constitution and there are only 6 ways to disqualify a Presidential candidate.
      not meeting the eligibility:
      1. Not natural born
      2. Not 35
      3. not lived in the US for 14 years

      then the ineligibility clauses
      1. Can’t be convicted of insurrection or sedition (14A)
      2. Can’t serve more than 2 terms (25A)
      3. Can’t be disqualified by the Senate after impeachment and conviction (Article I)

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