Durbin Voices Support for Censuring Trump, but Says the Senate Should Hold an Impeachment Trial

As the Senate appears likely to acquit former President Donald Trump on the charge of “incitement of insurrection,” some senators are proposing censuring him — which would not require a trial. 

However, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argues that while he could support the censure resolution, the chamber should still go ahead with the impeachment trial to hold the former president accountable for what Democrats charge is his role in inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

During an interview on CNN on Thursday, Durbin said, “There are many who argue on the other side, ‘Get over it. Let the president ride off into the sunset. Any disclosure of what happened on January 6 is just going to divide our nation.’ I couldn’t disagree more.”

He argued that the trial must occur to provide an “official record” of what happened to dispel conspiracy theories about the riot at the Capitol.

“Do I believe [Trump] should be censured if he’s not impeached? I agree with it, but we need to go ahead with the impeachment trial,” he said.

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On Tuesday, just five Republican senators, out of 50, voted with Democrats to reject a resolution declaring the impeachment trial of Trump unconstitutional.

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have suggested the chamber could move to censure Trump told to hold him accountable. Collins was one of the Republicans who voted against the measure.

Collins told reporters it is “extraordinarily unlikely” that at least 17 Republicans would vote to convict Trump.

There is a 67-vote threshold to convict a president on an impeachment charge. Currently, there is a 50-50 split in the Senate, which means at least 17 Republicans would need to vote to convict if every Democrat votes in favor of conviction. 

“If we can’t get to 67 votes for impeachment, there may be another way to hold President Trump accountable,” Kaine told CNN on Wednesday. 

Axios reports that Kaine’s 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.'”

Kaine suggested it is possible Trump could be barred from holding office again without an impeachment trial.

The Virginia senator pointed to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that “no person shall be” a president, vice president, member of Congress, or hold a federal or state office, who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

“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,” Kaine said.