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Viral Tweet Distorts Facts on Consequences of Impeachment

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A viral tweet that migrated to Facebook distorts the info on the implications of a possible, second impeachment of President Donald Trump. Impeachment alone wouldn’t strip Trump of his pension or bar him from pursuing workplace sooner or later, because the put up falsely claims.

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The House is pursuing a possible, second impeachment of President Donald Trump — charging him with “incitement of insurrection” that led to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. A vote is anticipated within the House on Jan. 13.

But a viral message shared by left-leaning pages on social media distorts the info surrounding the authorized ramifications of an impeachment. Its false message is partially premised on a failure to differentiate between an impeachment (by the House) and a subsequent conviction and removing from workplace (which is a call by the Senate). But the put up is inaccurate for different causes, too.

The put up, a screenshot of a tweet, reads: “For those wondering if it’s worth impeaching him this time, it means he: 1) loses his 200K+ pension for the rest of his life 2) loses his 1 million dollar/year travel allowance 3) loses lifetime full secret service detail 4) loses his ability to run in 2024.” The authentic tweet was retweeted greater than 180,000 occasions earlier than it was deleted.

But an impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House doesn’t alone lead to any of these penalties.

For starters, the prospect of Trump dropping “the ability to run in 2024” isn’t an computerized results of an impeachment, or perhaps a conviction by the Senate. If the Senate did convict a president (which so far has by no means been achieved), a separate vote can be required to additionally disqualify him from holding future workplace.

Brian Kalt, a Michigan State University regulation professor, famous to that there’s some debate over whether or not the Constitution’s language about such disqualification applies to the presidency. Kalt, for his half, mentioned he believes it does.

Peter J. Smith, a George Washington University professor who focuses on constitutional regulation, mentioned in a cellphone interview that the argument that the presidency wouldn’t qualify for disqualification is usually thought of an “outlier view” — and one that’s “based on a very close parsing of constitutional text” and “that would lead to some very surprising results.”

As for stripping Trump of the advantages afforded to former presidents, the Former Presidents Act addresses eligibility for advantages — such because the pension, workers and an annual “security and travel” allowance. The act says these advantages wouldn’t apply to a president whose service is terminated “by removal pursuant to section 4 of article II of the Constitution of the United States of America,” which addresses impeachment and removing from workplace. (The emphasis is ours.)

It seems unlikely {that a} potential Senate trial — and due to this fact any potential conviction — would happen earlier than Trump leaves workplace on Jan. 20. (We additionally be aware that there’s some authorized debate over the method of conducting an impeachment trial after a president leaves workplace.)

Josh Blackman, a professor on the South Texas College of Law Houston, argues that in his studying of the regulation, the exclusion of advantages wouldn’t apply to a president who’s convicted within the Senate after having already left workplace.

“If Trump is impeached earlier than January 20, and convicted after January 20, he would nonetheless be a ‘former President,’” Blackman wrote in a Jan. 10 post on “Why? A ‘former President’ can’t be faraway from a place he now not holds.”

Smith, the George Washington University professor, mentioned that was an inexpensive learn of the regulation’s textual content but additionally mentioned there might, in concept, be judges who would discover that Congress meant to disqualify presidents who’re convicted in an impeachment trial — and that it hadn’t thought of presidents convicted after leaving workplace.

Either means, the viral put up is improper by saying that impeachment alone would end result within the lack of such advantages. And there are different points with the put up, too.

It says that Trump “loses lifetime full secret service detail” if impeached.

But authorized specialists mentioned it was unlikely Trump would lose Secret Service safety even when he have been convicted and faraway from workplace earlier than Jan. 20.

Citing one other a part of federal regulation, 18 U.S. Code § 3056, Blackman wrote that it’s potential Trump would nonetheless be eligible for the Secret Service safety even when the president was faraway from workplace. CNN factors out that former President Barack Obama signed a regulation in 2013 that amended that a part of the U.S. Code to authorize lifetime Secret Service safety for former presidents, and that it doesn’t outline “former president.”

It isn’t clear that Section 3056 extends to a removed President, but I think the best reading, in context, is that it should,” Blackman advised us in an e-mail.

Cary Coglianese, a University of Pennsylvania professor of regulation and political science, mentioned: “If President Trump were to be impeached and then convicted and removed from office before January 20, 2021, he would almost certainly not automatically lose the Secret Service protection which he would otherwise expect to receive after January 20, 2021.”

Coglianese in an e-mail to mentioned the Former Presidents Act authorizes funds “appropriated to the Administrator of General Services” — which is separate from the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security. “The power of the Secret Service to protect former Presidents is authorized by separate statute (18 USC 3056),” he mentioned.

In brief, he mentioned that there was no purpose to assume the definition of a “former president” used within the Former Presidents Act would apply to the Secret Service protections supplied to former presidents underneath 18 U.S. Code § 3056.

We additionally requested the Secret Service to deal with this level and didn’t hear again; we’ll replace this story if we do.

Finally, the Former Presidents Act authorizes the $1 million per fiscal 12 months for “security and travel related expenses” for former presidents “[p]rovided… the former President… was not receiving protection for a lifetime provided by the United States Secret Service under section 3056 paragraph (a) subparagraph (3) of title 18, United States Code.”

In different phrases, the regulation doesn’t present former presidents with each lifetime Secret Service safety and the $1 million journey and safety allowance, because the put up suggests.

Editor’s be aware: is considered one of a number of organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our earlier tales will be discovered right here.

This truth examine is on the market at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click right here for extra.


18 U.S. Code § 3056 – Powers, authorities, and duties of United States Secret Service. Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Accessed 11 Jan 2021.

three U.S. Code § 102 – Compensation of the President. Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Accessed 11 Jan 2021.

ArtI.S3.C7.1.1 Judgment in Cases of Impeachment: Overview.” Constitution Annotated. Accessed 11 Jan 2021.

Blackman, Josh. Professor, South Texas College of Law Houston. Email to 12 Jan 2021.

Blackman, Josh. “Under the Former Presidents Act, A Removed President Does Not Receive a Pension, Office Staff, Office Space, and Secret Service Protection (Updated).” 10 Jan 2021.

Coglianese, Cary. Professor of regulation and political science, University of Pennsylvania. Email to 12 Jan 2021.

Dale, Daniel. “Fact check: No, impeachment itself would not ban Trump from a 2024 run.” CNN. 11 Jan 2021.

Former Presidents Act.” National Archives. Accessed 11 Jan 2021.

Garber, Ross (@rossgarber). “1/ Can the Senate disqualify an impeached/convicted POTUS from being elected again to the Presidency? I think so BUT -It has never been decided by any court or Congress (no POTUS has been convicted by Senate). -Some legal scholars say a convicted/DQ’d POTUS can be elected again.” Twitter. 9 Jan 2021.

Impeachment.” U.S. Senate. Accessed 11 Jan 2021.

Kalt, Brian. Professor of regulation, Michigan State University. Email to 12 Jan 2021.

Smith, Peter J. Professor, George Washington University. Phone interview with 12 Jan 2021.

U.S. House. “H.R.6620 – Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012.” (as signed into regulation 10 Jan 2013)

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