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Former Washington AG: ‘Not impossible’ for Senate to bar Trump from holding office again

President Donald Trump gestures as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

An impeachment trial still looms for Donald Trump in the U.S. Senate. But why bother given that he’s already left office? Former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna weighed in on Seattle’s Morning News.

McKenna: More Republicans should have voted to impeach Trump

As McKenna points out, the House already voted to move Trump’s impeachment forward. That constitutes an official indictment, but questions remain over whether he can be convicted having already left office.

“I think the answer is yeah, probably he can,” McKenna opined.

So, why even hold an impeachment trial now that Trump has left the White House? That’s because there’s far more at stake politically.

“The reason that matters is that the Senate could then decide to take a vote to bar him from holding future federal office,” McKenna pointed out. “That would be a reason to proceed with a trial in the Senate following the impeachment that occurred before he left office.”

Barring Trump from another run for president would have to occur separately from a vote to convict. Unlike an impeachment vote, though, it would only require the support of a simple majority rather than two-thirds of Senators.

Washington lawmakers join calls to remove President Trump from office

McKenna remains unconvinced that there will be enough Republican votes to reach that two-thirds threshold to convict the former president. As for whether the Senate will decide to keep Trump out of the political picture permanently, there’s more uncertainty there.

“I think it’s not likely to happen, but it’s also not impossible,” he said. “And I think it is not a coincidence that (Trump) has seemed more, I don’t say apologetic, but he’s made statements decrying political violence, attempting to distance himself from the events of January 6, perhaps because he’s actually concerned that he could be convicted in the Senate.”

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