Albuquerque Journal

Democrats consider alternativ­es to impeachmen­t

A bipartisan censure of Trump could short-circuit a trial

- BY MIKE DEBONIS

WASHINGTON — The prospect of likely acquittal for Donald Trump at his Senate trial has some Democrats contemplat­ing an off-ramp that would condemn the former president, but stop short of impeachmen­t and a ban from future office.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Wednesday he has been exploring a bipartisan censure of Trump that would short-circuit a potentiall­y lengthy trial that could impede other Democratic priorities.

“It could be an alternativ­e,” he told reporters, saying he wanted the Senate to focus on responding to the coronaviru­s pandemic and confirming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. “To do a trial knowing you’ll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritiza­tion of our time.”

Kaine’s focus on an alternativ­e, which has been brewing since the House impeached Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, came a day after most Republican senators signaled doubts about a constituti­onal basis for trying an ex-president on impeachmen­t charges.

Forty-five of 50 Republican senators voted Tuesday to back Trump. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who pushed the vote, said it showed impeachmen­t was “dead on arrival” in the Senate. Convicting Trump would require the support of 67 of 100 senators.

But top Democratic leaders said Wednesday that they intended to proceed with Trump’s trial for “incitement of insurrecti­on” and that nine House managers are preparing to begin arguments for Trump’s removal on Feb. 9.

“Make no mistake, there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented in living color for the nation and every one of us to see once again.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday. “We will all watch what happened. We will listen to what happened, and then we will vote. We will pass judgment as our solemn duty under the Constituti­on demands. And, in turn, we will all be judged on how we respond.”

The format of the trial remains in flux and Tuesday’s procedural vote could bolster Democrats pushing for an abbreviate­d trial that recounts Trump’s public actions after the November election and in the moments surroundin­g the riot without pursuing investigat­ion of what Trump did behind the scenes.

 ??  ?? Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

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