Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Photo of a masked Tim Kaine, Susan Collins and Gary Disbrow speaking to each other at a committee hearing
Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

  • "If we can’t get to 67 votes for impeachment, there may be another way to hold President Trump accountable."

Details: The censure resolution will declare that the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was an insurrection against the Constitution — an effort to stop Congress from "undertaking its constitutional duty to count electoral votes," according to Kaine.

  • It finds that Trump "gave aid and comfort" to the insurrectionists by "repeatedly lying about the election, slandering election officials, pressuring others to come to Washington for a wild event and encouraging them to come up to Congress."
  • The language is pulled from Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
  • Kaine said if Trump is found to have violated the amendment, he could be barred from holding office again. However it remains unclear whether that is enforceable.
  • "This is an alternative that would impose, in my view, a similar consequence but it does not require a trial and it does not require a two-thirds vote," the Virginia senator added.

The big picture: Collins told reporters on Wednesday, "It seems to me there is benefit in looking at an alternative that might be able to garner bipartisan support."

  • The two senators have spoken with roughly 40 colleagues about a censure vote, Kaine said.
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