A bipartisan group of Senators is reportedly pitching fellow members of Congress on a “censure” resolution against former President Donald Trump, as it “becomes increasingly clear that his second impeachment trial is likely to end in acquittal,” according to Axios.
As The Daily Wire reported yesterday, 45 Senators, all Republicans, voted to dismiss Trump’s upcoming Senate impeachment trial before it even begins. In a fiery speech before the Senate, Rand Paul (R-KY), called the possibility of impeaching and convicting a now-private citizen patently unconstitutional and demanded that the Senate abandon the process.
“The Senate just voted on my constitutional point of order,” Paul tweeted. “45 Senators agreed that this sham of a ‘trial’ is unconstitutional. That is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process. This ‘trial’ is dead on arrival in the Senate.”
Although the measure fell short of the majority needed to pass, the message was clear: there is likely no way Democrats will get the 17 Republican votes they need to effectively convict Trump of inciting an insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6th. With that option off the table, the second impeachment process looks poised to fail at its goal, preventing Trump from exerting influence over the political sphere now that he’s left office.
In what appears to be an attempt to salvage the effort, Axios reports that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) are working with Senate moderates on a proposal to censure the former president, officially chiding him for allegedly spurring a rally crowd to riot and attack the U.S. Capitol, rather than convict him.
“Axios first reported on Tuesday that Kaine and Collins were pitching their colleagues on the idea of a censure resolution. Spokespeople for Collins didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the conversations,” The Hill added. “Collins indicated on Tuesday after 45 GOP senators supported an effort to deem Trump’s trial unconstitutional that she expected the Senate would not be able to convict him. Collins was one of five GOP senators who voted to set aside the effort by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to declare the trial unconstitutional.”
“I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinarily unlikely that the President will be convicted. Just do the math,” Collins reportedly told the outlet.
There is growing concern that the trial may, in fact, be unconstitutional, particularly given that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has now refused to preside over the proceedings, potentially because he anticipates a constitutional challenge from Trump’s defense team. Paul made that very point in his speech Tuesday.
“The Chief Justice’s absence demonstrates that this is not a trial as a president, but of a private citizen,” he said. “Therefore I make a point of order, that this proceeding, which would try a private citizen and not a president, a vice president, or civil officer violates the Constitution, and is not in order.”
Kaine’s and Collins’ plan to censure Trump ties into a larger effort on Kaine’s part to bar Trump from seeking public office in the future. ” That, like a censure resolution, could pass the Senate with only 60 votes compared with impeachment’s two-thirds requirement. That means that if every Democrat voted for a censure resolution, they would need the support of at least 10 Senate Republicans,” the Hill noted.
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