Former President Donald Trump said Thursday night that his attorneys had been informed that he has been indicted on charges in connection with the handling of classified material.
The charges range from a violation of the Espionage Act to obstruction of justice and have left some asking if this is the end of the former president’s quest for a second term.
Can Trump still run for president if he is indicted or convicted of a crime? Here’s what we know now.
The short answer is yes, Trump can continue his campaign for the Republican nomination for president. An indictment does not affect that.
Nothing in the Constitution bars a person from running for office if he or she has been indicted or even convicted of a crime.
The Constitution requires only three things for a person to serve as president. You must be:
- A natural-born citizen
- At least 35 years old
- A resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.
A person can even run for president while in prison. At least two people have done just that.
In 1920 Eugene Debs ran for president while in a federal prison in Atlanta. Debs was convicted of violating the Espionage Act, the same act Trump is now accused of violating.
Lyndon LaRouche, who ran for president in every election from 1976 to 2004, was convicted of tax and mail fraud in 1988 but ran his 1992 campaign for president from prison, The Washington Post reported.
Neither man won the presidency. Should Trump win the nomination and the presidency, things would be a bit more complicated.
According to the Post, constitutional scholars generally say the need for a president to be able to perform his or her duties would take precedence over a person serving a prison sentence.
A prison sentence could be deferred until the end of a presidential term, or, Trump could pardon himself and avoid jail time altogether.