Is Donald Trump still eligible to run for president?

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The US Constitution sets out just a handful of explicit requirements someone must meet to be the president. They must be at least 35 years old, a “natural-born” citizen, and a United States resident for at least 14 years. The constitution also bars someone who has served as president for two full terms from running again.

None of those requirements disqualify former President Donald Trump. However, some constitutional experts say one provision in the constitution: section 3 of the 14th Amendment, makes things more complicated. It says that no person who has taken an oath “as an officer of the United States” can hold office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”.

Robert McWhirter, a Constitutional Law Expert and author explains whether Trump is still eligible to run for office.

The Constitution states that a person can still serve as president if they are indicted and even if they are convicted.

“They could possibly be articles of impeachment later on,” McWhirter said. “The Constitution gives no bar to serving, even if you are a convicted felon.”

If Trump were to win the 2024 election and be convicted and sentenced to a prison term before his inauguration, would he be able to pardon himself? McWhirter says that Trump believes he can.

The pardoning power allows the president to pardon others, but it does not say if the president can pardon themself.

“If he did, it would be unprecedented,” McWhirter said.

The Supreme Court says that the pardoning power is solely an executive function. There is, however, an Office of Pardons within the Department of Justice.

“That is a creature of rules and he could circumvent that,” McWhirter said.

Donald Trump is the first U.S. president – former or current – to be charged with criminal activity and be impeached twice.

Robert McWhirter, Constitutional Law Expert & Author

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