In my country, there have been more than a few attempts at a coup d'etat, auto-coup, etc. We have legislation in place to prevent insurrectionists and their immediate family from running for president ever again as the children of the insurrectionists are often complicit in the criminal acts of their father/mother.

Assuming that Trump is impeached and convicted...

Is there anything in place in the US legal code to deal with this type of situation?

Can his children be prevented from running for Federal office?

...shameless self-promotion See on EL&U,SE: Are there any publications which would indicate that American Journalists understand the concept of self-coup i.e. auto-golpe?

See Timothy Snyder's answer.

  • autogolpe sounds like what Putin did.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 11, 2021 at 20:46
  • Your secondary question is about journalists, not Trump. Since we know what Putin did, the answer is yes.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 11, 2021 at 20:53
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    The case in question is very specific in that Trump's children have played an active part in his administration. So in this case, and I agree with @Obie2.0 in that they couldn't be barred based on their relationship to their father, they could be separately tried based on their own actions. Jan 12, 2021 at 8:07

2 Answers 2


No, and it is arguably prohibited by the Constitution. First, it specifies quite clearly what the punishment for impeachment can include.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

This all clearly applies only to the person convicted.

As noted in the comments, Congress does not generally have the power to impose punishments, except when the Constitution says otherwise:

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.

A law punishing anyone other than the impeached official could be considered as an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder.

Second, although not directly applicable to impeachment, there is another clause that would likely be taken into account in any dispute:

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

Corruption of blood is the punishment of the heirs of someone for their actions, preventing them from inheriting titles or estates. While this does not have direct bearing on impeachment, if Congress tried to impose a penalty on the children or relatives of an impeached official in defiance of the previous clause, the judiciary would probably consider this clause to offer some insight into the constitutional position of such an action.

As a side note, you have mentioned some of the advantages of corruption of blood, but consider also the disadvantages: a person is barred completely from certain occupations because of the crimes that another person committed, which could include young children who never knew their family or adults who have no contact with them.

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    The Article 1 prohibitions on bills of attainder are more relevant. The Congress only has limited judicial power over its own members, and impeachable officials. It cannot resolve that someone else be punished. Conversely, the provisions of Amendment 14 both encompass "any office, civil or military" (including the office of the President) and involve whether someone "engaged" in an insurrection, which a child might have done in support of xyr parent. We know from case law that engagement has to be voluntary, however.
    – JdeBP
    Jan 10, 2021 at 23:01
  • Amendment 14 is relevant, but as you note it requires participation in a rebellion. It does not apply to impeachment in general, and does not apply to family members unless by chance they have participated in a rebellion. In fact, I am not sure it even applies to the office of President or Vice President. It seems as if it should, but Senators and Representatives and electors are mentioned separately from "any office, civil or military," so perhaps elected offices are not included in civil offices.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jan 10, 2021 at 23:15
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    It doesn't matter that it doesn't apply to impeachment. It applies to insurrection, and the question is about insurrectionists. The answer to give is not to talk about impeachment and corruption of blood, but of Amendment 14 and what constitutes "engagement" in insurrection, for which there is case law. Then one could discuss borderline hypotheticals such as a child that asked xyr parent to go out and stop an insurrectionist mob versus a child that assisted xyr parent in inciting such a mob. And yes, whether oaths were taken.
    – JdeBP
    Jan 10, 2021 at 23:21
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    The fact that the 14th Amendment applies to a very limited group of people that is unlikely to include the children of an impeached president (and even in the case of this extremely nepotic president, almost certainly does not include them), and does not have to do with the question asked (does impeachment prohibit a president's children from running for office?) makes it of only tangential importance. But you can write your own answer if you disagree.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jan 10, 2021 at 23:22
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    I don't know. I doubt it. Does it mention any restrictions on holding office for relatives of people who commit the crimes therein established?
    – Obie 2.0
    Jan 11, 2021 at 18:44

Punishing the offspring, spouse, siblings or ancestors of a person as part of a crime or offense said person committed is known as Sippenhaft, collective or kin punishment.

Whatever you decide to call it, it fundamentally involves someone being punished for a crime they did not commit – as the conviction was handed down to the single convicted, not to their spouse, offspring, siblings or ancestors. This is fundamentally at odds with the very principles of rule of law, due process, etc; which require proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has actually committed what they are accused of before they can be sentenced.

Any attempt by Congress to prevent, say, Eric Trump or Donald Trump Junior from holding the office of President as a consequence of an impeachment and removal of Donald Trump Senior would most certainly be ruled unconstitutional, probably citing multiple amendments or clauses such a ruling would violate.

However it is worth noting that in the specific case of the Trump family, cases can probably be made against Eric and Donald Junior based on the speeches they gave on the 6th January before the coup attempt began, as Twitter user SethAbramson outlines in the linked thread. These would be potential indictments, trials and convictions of the individuals as per their very own acts and statements though, rather than by virtue of being related to Donald Trump Senior by blood. The same Twitter thread also takes apart two other speeches (by Rudy Giuliani and Mo Brooks), making many of the same arguments and thereby proving that the conclusions are not based on bloodline but on individual actions – in line with the principles of rule of law, due process, etc.

  • 1
    "This is fundamentally at odds with the very principles of rule of law, due process, etc" not completely if there is a good reason to believe that the person might seek some hereditary claims for overthrowing the current constitutional regime. As is the ban of the Habsburg dynasty in Austria, for example. It wasn't nullified even under the modern law of the European Union. Jan 12, 2021 at 10:53
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    @VladimirF I mean … gosh the whole first section of the Wikipedia article must be off then!
    – Jan
    Jan 12, 2021 at 11:11
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    There is loads of wring stuff at Wikipedia... But it appears that large parts of the Habsburg Law indeed had to be repealed, including the ban for running the presidency (but repealed only in 2011). "In 2010, Ulrich Habsburg-Lothringen, living in Carinthia, unsuccessfully tried to be accepted as a candidate at the federal president's elections." I find this example to be quite relevant here. Jan 12, 2021 at 16:53
  • Up-voting based on your "however"...
    – user14221
    Jan 12, 2021 at 18:33
  • 1
    @Cascabel if you really upvoted based on that, then you missed the point of the answer.
    – qwr
    Jan 12, 2021 at 20:53

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