- Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said on Wednesday that he’s drafting a resolution to censure former President Donald Trump.
- Kaine told reporters that there “maybe a little more interest now” in the move after an overwhelming majority of Republicans on Tuesday hinted they likely won’t convict Trump.
- The Virginia Democrat argued that a censure resolution could be a better use of the Senate’s time.
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Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said on Wednesday that he’s drafted a censure resolution against former President Donald Trump.
Kaine told reporters that there “maybe a little more interest now” in a censure resolution after an overwhelming majority of Republican senators hinted on Tuesday they are likely not going to convict Trump in an impeachment trial. GOP Sen. Rand Paul argued on Tuesday to dismiss the trial, claiming that it goes against the Constitution as Trump has already left office. He was joined by 44 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted to declare Trump’s impeachment unconstitutional. The motion ultimately failed as 55 senators, including five Republicans, voted to kill it.
The Senate is preparing for an impeachment trial, but Kaine on Wednesday told reporters that the upper chamber’s time could be better spent with a censure resolution, since the former president will likely be acquitted. At least 17 Republicans would need to vote “yes” in order to convict Trump.
“To do a trial knowing you’ll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritisation of our time,” Kaine said. He added that “maybe we can do it fast,” but his top priorities are delivering economic relief to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic and completing confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks.
The House impeached Trump on January 13, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” related to the deadly Capitol siege that unfolded on January 6. The House impeachment managers sent the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday made clear that the Senate will conduct a trial.
“Make no mistake, there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented in living colour for the nation and every one of us to see once again,” he said.
Axios first reported on Tuesday night that Kaine is teaming up with GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine to propose a bipartisan resolution to censure Trump. Censure refers to a formal public condemnation of an elected official.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told reporters Wednesday that the caucus will discuss the idea, saying: “I hope enough Republicans join us to impeach this president. If they don’t, perhaps we’ll consider some alternatives.”
Some senators, however, have said that censuring Trump is not a severe enough consequence for his role in the Capitol riot. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia dismissed the move on Wednesday.
“I thought the censure was definitely the way to go on Ukraine,” Manchin said, referring to Trump’s first impeachment last year. “This is much, much more serious than anything we’ve ever seen in our lifetime and it’s really the purpose of having the articles of impeachment.”