Maine secretary of state attempts to explain why she disqualified Trump

 January 1, 2024

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D), on Friday, attempted to explain how it is that she decided to disqualify former President Donald Trump from Maine's 2024 ballots. 

Bellows tried to do so during an appearance on CNN's Situation Room. 

In the process, she had to explain how it is that she found Trump guilty of insurrection - a claim that not even special counsel Jack Smith has brought against Trump.

This is really saying something considering the dubious nature of many of the claims that Smith has brought against Trump. Yet, Smith has not been willing to go so far as to accuse Trump of insurrection.


In case you missed it, last Thursday, Bellows invoked Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to disqualify Trump - the Republican Party's leading candidate - from her state's 2024 ballots.

The Fourteenth Amendment essentially disqualifies individuals who took certain governmental oaths and who "engaged in insurrection" from holding public office. The claim is that Trump took such an oath when he became president and that he engaged in insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

During a CBS News interview, on Thursday night, Bellows claimed that she "was required to issue that decision."

"I was required to issue that decision. And I could only look at the hearing, evidence, and facts that were presented during that hearing. In evaluating the weight of evidence, it made clear that Mr. Trump was aware of the tinder that was laid in a multi-month effort to delegitimize the 2020 election, and then chose to light a match," she said.

Trump is expected to appeal Bellows' decision, and the matter is expected to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Legal experts expect the decision to be overturned by the Supreme Court because they say that the Fourteenth Amendment was not meant to be applied in the way Bellows and others are trying to apply it to Trump.

How Bellows found Trump guilty of something that no one else has

Bellows, during her CNN appearance on Friday, was asked to explain how it is that she has found Trump guilty of "insurrection" when no one has been willing to bring such a legal claim against Trump.

"It's important to understand that an administrative hearing under Maine's Administrative Procedure Act and in terms of implementing election law is different than a criminal proceeding in a criminal court. Sure, the standard is preponderance of the evidence," Bellows said.

She continued, "And furthermore, part of the hearing record, and my decision was based exclusively on the record before me, is not only live testimony that is subject to cross examination, but also exhibits that are produced and submitted by the parties. And, in fact, in this situation, there were thousands of pages of exhibits which I reviewed, including the bipartisan January 6th report, a bipartisan Senate report, a GAO report, a defense Department report."

Bellows went on to claim that she had "substantial evidence," and that her decision was based on "the Constitution and the rule of law."

We'll have to see if Bellows' reasoning holds up in court. The first stop will be Maine's superior court.

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