In addition to a quartet of court cases competing for his attention as the 2024 White House heats up, former President Donald Trump is facing another hurdle in his bid to secure a third-straight Republican nomination.
Activists in Colorado have been promoting a theory that Trump could be disqualified due to a clause in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution related to anyone “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”
🚨BREAKING: I'm honored to announce I will be serving as a fact witness for President Trump's defense in the 14th Amendment removal sham trial in Colorado.
I was at the doors on January 6, face to face with protestors, and I know firsthand there was NO INSURRECTION.
— Congressman Troy E. Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) October 31, 2023
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have been leading the charge since filing a lawsuit in September, arguing that Trump’s remarks ahead of a protest on Capitol Hill in January 2021 constituted a violation that should preclude him from appearing on the state’s ballots in next year’s election.
The case headed to court this week with opening arguments starting on Monday. CREW attorney Eric Olson commenced the case by proclaiming: “Trump incited a violent mob to attack our Capitol, to stop the peaceful transition of power.”
Of course, Trump’s defense team has cited the then-president’s remarks during a speech just prior to the protest as evidence that he did not intend to incite any violence by his supporters.
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Trump said at the time.
“People should be able to run for office and shouldn’t be punished for their speech,” declared Trump attorney Scott Gessler, who added that keeping the former president off of the ballot in Colorado would establish a precedent using “legal theories that have never been embraced by a state or federal court.”
That was not enough to convince Olson, however, who claimed that the Constitution implies that Trump does not have “the right to be president again.”
Judge Sarah B. Wallace, who was assigned to oversee the case, has also come under scrutiny based on her donation last year to the Colorado Turnout Project, a group that ostensibly exists in part to “prevent violent insurrections.”
She dismissed calls from Trump’s legal team to recuse herself from the case, claiming she had no recollection of the $100 donation in October 2022 and insisting: “I will not allow this legal proceeding to turn into a circus.”