No matter what happens in this year’s election, President Donald Trump has already made history in one way.
While Trump is the third president ever to be impeached by the House of Representatives, he likely will be the first impeached president in history to be nominated by a political party to run for re-election.
So, how is this possible?
In short, the ability of Trump — or any president who gets impeached, for that matter — to seek re-election while impeached is entirely up to the Senate.
According to Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, ”Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”
The Senate could not only vote for impeachment and subsequent removal from office with a 2/3 majority vote, but it could also vote to ban Trump from ever running for office again.
But even if the Senate convicts Trump and removes him from office — which is unlikely in itself, since unlike the House, the Republican Party holds a majority in the Senate — they can theoretically allow Trump to run for office again and he could go on with his re-election bid as if nothing happened, as long as he is nominated as the Republican candidate again.
This was never a scenario for the previous two presidents to be impeached by the House, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
Johnson sought the Democratic Party nomination in 1868, but was bypassed in favor of Horatio Seymour.
Clinton was impeached in 1999 during his second term and wasn’t allowed to run for president again due to term limits.
Both Johnson and Clinton were acquitted by the Senate, although Johnson barely escaped a removal from office, as the vote to impeach in the Senate fell short by one vote.