Former Obama Official Floats Impeaching Trump Again If He's Acquitted

If at first you don't succeed...

Neal Katyal
Neal Katyal / Getty Images
December 5, 2019

Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general under Barack Obama, argued Thursday that if the Senate acquits President Donald Trump after the House of Representatives impeaches the president, the next Congress could simply convict Trump again on the same charges.

"If the Senate doesn't vote to convict Trump, or tries to monkey [with] his trial, he could, of course, be retried in the new Senate should he win reelection," the liberal attorney argued on Twitter. "Double jeopardy protections do not apply."

The next congressional election coincides with the 2020 presidential election, so in Katyal's hypothetical, the Senate would remove Trump despite a previous acquittal and the president returning to office with the mandate of reelection.

In a follow-up tweet, Katyal said his recently released book, Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, goes into more detail about a possible retrial. According to the book's description, Katyal argues that "if President Trump is not held accountable for repeatedly asking foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 presidential election," it "could very well mark the end of our democracy."

Katyal's tweets came the same day that he argued in a Washington Post op-ed that House Judiciary Democrats were getting too caught up with procedure and evidence and that Trump should be impeached based only on the transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

"[We] didn't need these witness accounts, and we didn't need the day-long contemplation of constitutional law that we got on Tuesday," he wrote. "Because Trump's solicitations of bribes are right there in the document released by the White House. The transcript is the smoking gun."