Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which is a government watchdog group, has announced it intends to file legal action challenging Donald Trump’s eligibility for office in the event he runs (again) for the presidency (or something else). Trump, of course, likely will be running, meaning legal challenges are forthcoming.
The group, which outlined its intentions in a letter sent directly to the former president and publicized on its website, indicated it would base its challenge on provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restricting those involved in insurrection from running for office. CREW was involved in the legal challenge to the eligibility for office of Couy Griffin, a Trump-supporting county commissioner in New Mexico who personally participated in the storming of the Capitol, for which he was criminally charged. On the basis of those constitutional rules, a judge disqualified Griffin from office because of his participation. Other, similarly styled challenges to members of Congress who were less directly connected to the riot have proven unsuccessful.
Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), who helped promote lies about the election that incited the riot but didn’t participate in the actual violence, were among those targeted by similar challenges. Greene faced questioning in court as part of the process of dealing with her challenge, claiming she didn’t recall ever promoting martial law to Trump or his then-chief of staff in the White House, Mark Meadows. Subsequently available text conversations show she at least raised the prospect to Meadows. She wasn’t alone — Michael Flynn, who was in the Trump administration around its start and stuck around in Trump’s orbit, also proposed the involvement of the military in re-running at least portions of the 2020 election. The prospect was obviously extreme and without foundation in law — or reality.
Greene recently lost at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in her challenge to a federal judge allowing the challenge to her eligibility to proceed. Judges concluded it was moot, keeping Greene from even a symbolic victory. The process is long over, and Greene prevailed. Trump’s level of responsibility for the riot at the Capitol hasn’t been established in court, although a challenge from CREW could provide an opportunity for exactly that. “The evidence that Trump engaged in insurrection is overwhelming,” Noah Bookbinder, who leads CREW, said. “We are ready, willing and able to take action to make sure the Constitution is upheld and Trump is prevented from holding office.” Reports suggest Trump could formally announce his candidacy for re-election in the near future, just after Election Day in the midterms, which is this Tuesday. Meanwhile, he continues holding rallies.