Why did Mitch McConnell break ranks with the Republican National Committee and insist, contrary to a growing mountain of evidence, that the Jan. 6 incident was “a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next”? A clue came on Tuesday, when Larry Sabato, a popular far-Left historian, tweeted: “Of course it was a violent insurrection. Shame on every Republican, especially Members of Congress, who haven’t declared as much. Next: Admit Trump plotted a coup to steal a 2nd term. Then invoke 14th Amendment, Section 3 to ban Trump and coconspirators from future public office.” If it was an insurrection, then Trump, who has grown increasingly critical and contemptuous of McConnell, can be barred from running in 2024. The initiative to do this is gathering steam.
The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3 says: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or 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, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
This was designed to keep unrepentant Confederates out of public office after the Civil War (although many did hold office, as more often than not Congress did vote to waive the prohibition). As PJM’s Rick Moran noted Wednesday, it’s already being used against America-First Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), although he is fighting back hard. It’s likely to be used against others who are associated with the Jan. 6 non-insurrection as well.
But Cawthorn and the rest would just be a dry run. The great white whale these Captain Ahabs are hunting is Donald Trump, and they hope that in the 14th Amendment, they have found their harpoon. Some Democrats and establishment Republicans see this as the final stake they can drive into the heart of their nemesis Trump, ending his 2024 aspirations.
John Anthony Castro, a graduate of Georgetown University Law School who bills himself as “2024 Presidential Candidate,” as well as a “RINO Suing Trump Under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to Ban Him from Office for the January 6 Insurrection,” recalled that in mid-January, former FBI director James Comey called on Biden to pardon Trump. Castro saw this as a checkmate move, tweeting: “If Trump accepts the pardon, he has to admit guilt for January 6 and deal with the application of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment that disqualifies him from office. If Trump rejects the pardon, it legitimizes a federal prosecution. Trump is finished.”
There are just two problems with this scenario: Biden has said that he will not pardon Trump, and there isn’t anything to pardon Trump for in the first place, as Jan. 6 wasn’t an insurrection. Nonetheless, some Leftist academics think they see an easy path to a Trump-free world. Mark Graber, a law professor at the University of Maryland, opined: “I think a court could find a person aided and participated in an attempt to overturn the result of a valid election. This is in theory no more difficult than proving persons aided and supported any illegal activity. And I think attempting to overturn an election by violence (qualifies as) an insurrection.” Keith Whittington, a political scientist at Princeton University, added: “I suspect the number of likely candidates who could reasonably be affected by Section 3 is fairly small, though Donald Trump is potentially among them.” Potentially!
The Democrats and their establishment Republican allies are building lie upon lie. Now that they have insisted at every possible opportunity for over a year that the Jan. 6 Capitol breach was a threat to “our democracy” unparalleled since the Civil War, and worse than 9/11, Pearl Harbor, and the resignation of Al Franken, they are beginning to build on the foundation they have laid in order to use the Fourteenth Amendment against Trump, regardless of the now-forgotten fact that he called upon protestors on Jan. 6 “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Thus even if Jan. 6 were an insurrection, the idea that Trump was behind it is a gigantic piece of the Left’s case that remains unproven.
Nonetheless, the push to use the Fourteenth Amendment against Trump could well succeed, because all the Democrats need are the votes to push it over, and they may find enough obliging establishment Republicans to help them do that. Then the establishment media will hail those who gave Trump the coup de grace for saving our “democracy” as heroes. For them, there is no downside.
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