Congressional Democrats are reportedly considering a back-up plan – a censure resolution against Donald Trump should this week’s impeachment trial result in acquittal for the former President.
The resolution, according to McClatchy, would bar Trump “from holding future office over his role in the U.S. Capitol riot.”
The Senate impeachment trial began on Tuesday with opening statements and debate between House impeachment managers and the former President’s defense lawyers.
Trump’s lawyers argue that the House impeachment charge is unconstitutional and are calling on the Senate to acquit the former President.
The Dems’ last hope? Section 3 14th Amendment, a rarely cited Civil War-era provision which allows Congress to bar individuals from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection.” #14A https://t.co/gsERRGPWgY
— Sissy Willis (@SissyWillis) February 9, 2021
Democrats Have Back-Up Impeachment Plan – Censure Trump
The Democrat attempt to censure Donald Trump – who is now a private citizen – would invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
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It is a rarely cited Civil War-era provision that bars people from holding office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Pushing forward with the plan seems to be a foregone conclusion, as McClatchy notes “the debate among members of Congress is now whether to push for the resolution early this week — as the impeachment trial is first starting — or towards the end.”
Some Democrat lawmakers are hoping the trial itself will “build public support and political momentum” for the censure resolution.
Perfect polarization. Perfectly sad. By 86-12% Republicans say Trump should NOT be convicted by Senate. By 86-11% Democrats say Trump SHOULD be convicted. So after R senators rescue Trump, D senators must censure, forbid his future candidacy, & strip Trump of perks/public $$. 1/2
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) February 4, 2021
“The reception has been lukewarm so far from Democrats, who would prefer to see the former president convicted in the impeachment trial, and from Republicans, who fear political consequences in barring Trump from office,” McClatchy observes.
Senator Tim Kaine adds, “Right now there’s not enough support on either side.”
If the Senate acquits Trump, however, bitter Democrats could conceivably coalesce behind such a censure resolution and they wouldn’t need any help from the Republicans.
A resolution to censure Trump would require a simple majority vote to pass in the House and Senate.
The Democrats’ planned censure of President Donald Trump should be amended by Republicans to include all the vicious remarks from people who called for violence against the former president.https://t.co/anYCN3YAPC
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) January 30, 2021
It Could Backfire
The report indicates that Democrats may be playing with fire if they plan to censure Trump following the Senate impeachment trial.
“Some Democratic lawyers warn the strategy could backfire if taken to court and provide Trump with a rallying cry to run again for president in 2024,” it reads.
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley has argued that censuring Trump is a “dangerous” tactic for the nation.
Barring the former President from running again in the future based on a rarely cited provision of the 14th Amendment, without a trial and supermajority vote could open up the floodgates for party’s in power to keep their political opponents out of office.
The trial arguments have not even begun but Democrats are already talking about the options following acquittal. Unfortunately, they are pushing the 14th amendment option. https://t.co/dotXyNKLpr That could give Trump the ultimate vindication in court. https://t.co/qckRlUGgCY
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) February 9, 2021
“The party in control could bar dozens of its opponents from running for federal office,” Turley explains. “Some Democrats are now demanding such action against Republicans who challenged the election of Joe Biden.”
Indeed, how often have we heard Democrats demand Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz be expelled from Congress?
“This is common in authoritarian countries such as Iran, where leaders often bar their opponents from office,” Turley adds.
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