Ben Gabbe/Getty; Win McNamee/Getty Sean Hannity (left) and President Donald Trump
The unsealed search warrant executed at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property on Aug. 8 revealed that the former president is under criminal investigation for possible violations of the Espionage Act and other laws related to national security.
But that investigation — which concerns a trove of top-secret documents confiscated from the former president's Palm Beach, Fla., home — is ongoing. Trump has not been charged with any crimes and has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the records were declassified.
Still, close Trump ally and Fox News host Sean Hannity wants listeners of his radio show to know that even if the former president is charged and eventually convicted of a crime, it won't be a dealbreaker when it comes to running for president.
"If they think that they're going to somehow make this about Donald Trump and prevent him from running from office, well they obviously have not read something called the Constitution," Hannity said Monday on Premiere Radio Network's The Sean Hannity Show. "Because the Constitution is pretty clear on what qualifies one to be able to run for president."
That's true. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution states that U.S. citizenship, being 35 years or older and a resident for at least 14 years are what's required to be POTUS.
"Being a felon is not a disqualification. So even crimes potentially far more serious than what is being alleged, potential mishandling of classified information, doesn't stop somebody from seeking the presidency," Hannity reiterated in his discussion of whether Trump, if convicted of a crime, could hold the nation's highest office.
What about other possible charges? There is another investigation underway to determine what role Trump had in the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in July that the Department of Justice is conducting "the most wide-ranging investigation in its history" into the events of and surrounding Jan. 6, 2021.
"We will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer, legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next," Garland said at the time.
The Constitution's Disqualification Clause, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, states that no person "shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military" who'd taken an oath to support the Constitution and later "engaged in insurrection or rebellion."
That section, which was added after the Civil War, was cited in a lawsuit that sought to keep Rep. Madison Cawthorn off the ballot in North Carolina after he spoke at a rally near the White House on Jan. 6. The plaintiffs' efforts were unsuccessful — but so was Cawthorn in his state's Republican primary.
Blocking Trump from running based on that section of the Constitution is considered a long shot, according to Politifact, even if he could be charged and convicted.
Hannity pointed out to his listeners that the Constitution does outline how to disqualify someone from the presidency. "That is the conviction by the U.S. Senate on the — on an impeachment article voted on by the House," he said. "You can't change that by a mere statute. So I'm not sure exactly where they're headed with all of this."
Trump, who was impeached twice during his presidency but acquitted both times by the Senate, has been hinting at a third run for the White House almost since he left office in 2021. In July, he told New York magazine he'd already made up his mind and was only weighing the timing of an official campaign launch.
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A source close to the former president told PEOPLE a week ago that the FBI search of his home left Trump "furious yet scared" and, in the wake of unprecedented developments this month, considering his political calculations, including whether being a candidate or a second-term president could provide some protection.
"He is definitely making the moves to run but, in the end, I don't think he will," the Trump source said, "unless he is convinced criminal charges are coming."