Tuesday, January 12, 2021
The plain meaning of these passages is that impeachment, in the case of a president, is designed to remove that president from office. A secondary purpose is to disqualify a removed president from ever holding federal office again. "It's the impeachment that is the authority for the disqualification," Luttig said. And a former president, by definition, cannot be removed from office. And, by the way, the Constitution specifically lays out the way to deal with wrongdoing once the president is out of office: He will be "liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law."
So the Constitution clearly says how presidential wrongdoing should be addressed, both when the president is in office and when he is out of office.
But some Democrats are claiming that they can start impeachment now, when President Trump is in office -- and they're going to do it tomorrow -- and finish it with a Senate trial that takes place, or at least finishes, after the president has left office on January 20. Representative James Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, even suggested that, after passing impeachment articles, the House might hold on to them until the new President Biden has a chance to enact his 100-day agenda in Congress, and only then send the impeachment to the Senate for trial. At that point, Donald Trump will have been an ex-president for more than three months.