Tim Kaine, Susan Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Donald Trump

The resolution has gained momentum amid doubts about impeachment

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

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 in his second impeachment.

What we’re hearing: Some Democrats are interested only if at least 10 GOP senators publicly commit to a censure, thus ensuring the 60-vote margin needed to pass major legislation in the chamber.

  • It’s still unclear whether a resolution would be in lieu of or come after a trial.

Driving the news: Kaine (D-Va.) and Collins (R-Maine) have been interested in a censure resolution for weeks now and have discussed it on multiple occasions.

  • But the bipartisan discussions among senators grew more earnest after 45 Republicans voted today in favor of a motion to dismiss the trial because Trump is now out of office.
  • The vote was a clear indication he won’t be convicted.

Between the lines: In some ways, a censure vote could be more difficult for Republicans, because they can’t rely on the argument that a resolution is unconstitutional — like they are for an impeachment conviction.

  • It would also be a history-making vote. No other president has been censured after leaving office.

What they’re saying: “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 told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

  • Kaine has said he wants to do whatever possible to keep the focus on the Biden-Harris agenda and COVID-19 relief, so he supports a speedy trial or alternate way to hold Trump accountable.

Alayna Treene

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