When Trump Announces Candidacy, Watchdog Will File Insurrection Disqualification Challenge

When Donald Trump announces he’s running for the presidency, as he’s expected to do, a watchdog group plans to file a challenge under the 14th Amendment, which bars reelection of officials who engaged in or supported an insurrection.

“The evidence that Trump engaged in insurrection is overwhelming,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement last week. “We are ready, willing and able to take action to make sure the Constitution is upheld and Trump is prevented from holding office.”

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War, bars any officials who have taken an oath of office to defend the government from reelection if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the government — or have “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

CREW sent a letter to Trump on Thursday alerting him to the planned challenge if he announces his candidacy for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

“CREW believes you are barred from holding office Under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment because you engaged in insurrection against the government you swore to defend,” states the letter. “By summoning a violent mob to disrupt the transition of presidential power mandated by the Constitution after having sworn to defend the same, you made yourself ineligible to hold public office again.”

The “evidence that you engaged in insurrection as contemplated in the Fourteenth Amendment — including by mobilizing, inciting and aiding those attacking the Capitol — is overwhelming,” the letter adds.

“If you seek elected or appointed office despite being constitutionally disqualified ... we and others loyal to the Constitution will defend it,” the message warns.

Trump has not responded.

Though a similar action by a group of voters failed earlier this year to block Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) run for reelection, a challenge by CREW and other organizations succeeded against an official in New Mexico in September.

A judge in that state ruled in response to a lawsuit by CREW and others that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin be removed from office, noting the attack on the U.S. Capitol was an insurrection and that Griffin’s participation in it disqualified him under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The decision marked the first time since 1869 that a court has disqualified a public official under the amendment — and the first time any court has branded the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol an insurrection, CREW noted.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.