“A Long-Shot Push to Bar Trump in 2024 as an ‘Insurrectionist'”


Democrats and liberal groups, determined to find a way to bar former President Donald J. Trump from returning to office, are preparing a variety of ways to disqualify him, including drafting new legislation and readying a flurry of lawsuits seeking to use an obscure clause in the Constitution to brand him an insurrectionist.

The plans amount to an extraordinarily long-shot effort to accomplish what multiple investigations of Mr. Trump have failed to do: foreclose any chance that the former president could regain power, whether voters want him to or not. They reflect the growing concern among Democrats and liberal activists seeking to find a way to end the political careers of the former president and the officials who helped him try to cling to the presidency, including through several new and in some cases arcane strategies.

Democrats and some anti-Trump Republicans have grown fearful that Merrick B. Garland, the attorney general, will not pursue criminal action against Mr. Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, culminating in the violent storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Even if Mr. Trump were indicted and convicted of a crime, there is no law barring even an imprisoned felon from becoming president.

At the same time, Mr. Trump is the widely presumed front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, whose popularity with his party’s base appears undiminished by the high-profile set of House hearings this year revealing the breadth of his efforts to upend a democratic election.

Some of the efforts to block his return are taking place in the states where the nonprofit organization Free Speech For People and other groups such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have been filing lawsuits against lawmakers who were involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to reverse his 2020 defeat….

And there is work underway on Capitol Hill, where Democrats have drafted legislation aimed at enforcing the 14th Amendment’s ban.

“If he does choose to run for office, we stand ready to challenge his eligibility under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment in multiple states,” Ron Fein, a lawyer for Free Speech For People, which is planning a legal offensive, said of Mr. Trump. “It’s hard to come to any conclusion other than that he is disqualified from public office under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.”

A year and a half after Mr. Trump left office, Democrats continue to see him as a grave danger to the country and — even after a special counsel investigation, two impeachments, a large electoral victory in 2020 and a revelatory congressional inquiry into Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election — many are increasingly concerned that he could return to power.

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