Will FBI’s Mar-A-Lago Raid Disqualify Trump From Presidency?
Following the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday, questions began being raised about a possible disqualification of Trump for a 2024 run for the White House.
The Justice Department opened an investigation into the alleged mishandling of classified White House documents by Trump after the National Archives located 15 missing boxes of records at Mar-a-Lago in February.
Each President is required to preserve and turn over all memos, letters, emails and papers that they touched at the end of their term according to the Presidential Records Act.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 2071, it is a crime for those who have access to classified government documents to “willfully and unlawfully conceal, remove, mutilate, obliterate, falsify or destroy” them, and if a government official does, he “shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”
Law experts took to the internet to debate whether or not the statute can actually keep Trump from running again.
“That’s a real law, and if Donald Trump violated that law … that has real penalties, including the fact that he may never be able to serve in federal office ever again,” Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said during an appearance on MSNBC.
Law Professor Seth Barrett Tillman disagreed.
Tillman referred to Hillary Clinton‘s email scandal in 2015, saying that even a conviction does not make someone ineligible to run for office.
“Following the same legal reasoning, although the former president may be at legal risk, depending on the facts, a criminal conviction would not bar him from another run for elected federal office, including the presidency,” he wrote on Twitter before adding, “As a legal matter, Trump would be free to run for the presidency—even while in jail.”
Following the same legal reasoning, although the former president may be at legal risk, depending on the facts, a criminal conviction would not bar him from another run for elected federal office, including the presidency.
— Seth Barrett Tillman (@SethBTillman) August 9, 2022