Report: Vulnerable Democrat Lawmakers Floating Censure Instead of Impeachment

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, of Utah, looks on during a health and wellness forum at Midvale Senior Citizens Center Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Midvale, Utah. McAdams is changing his position to support the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. He said Friday he has not made a decision …
Rick Bowmer/AP Photo

A small group of almost a dozen moderate House Democrats is floating the long-shot idea of censuring President Donald Trump instead of impeaching him, according to a report.

The group, representing Democrats whose districts went for Trump in 2016, huddled on Monday afternoon in an “11th-hour bid to weigh additional — though unlikely — options,” according to Politico.

The group reportedly includes Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), and Ben McAdams (D-UT).

Schrader said Tuesday that censure would be “certainly appropriate and might be a little more bipartisan, who knows,” according to the outlet. But he added, “Time’s slipping by.”

Censure — unlike impeachment — could be bipartisan, whereas impeachment has not garnered the support of one House Republican. In fact, two Democrats defected on the vote to begin an impeachment inquiry — Reps. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).

Impeachment is particularly risky for the 31 Democrats who won seats in districts that went for Trump in 2016.

A recent McLaughlin & Associates poll showed Brindisi underwater for 2020 and even lower if he supports impeachment. He and other moderates were crucial to the Democrats winning control of the House in 2018.

And polls have shown support for impeachment slipping, notably among independents and in swing states critical to the 2020 presidential race.

Censure, versus impeachment, would also help Democrats avoid a lengthy Senate trial that could distract Democrats in the run-up to the election, and is expected to acquit Trump anyway.

“Right now, there’s no other options. This is another option,” one lawmaker told Politico.

A censure resolution would be “nearly impossible to sell to the caucus at this point, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team have already settled on impeaching the president,” Politico reported.

Still, some of the worried Democrats have quietly reached out to centrist House Republicans in recent days to see whether they would be willing to censure Trump, according to the outlet.

“I don’t think [moderate Democrats] have enough to block impeachment. Ten to 12 max. But they’re working to raise it,” one Republican lawmaker, who has discussed censure with some Democrats, told the outlet. “And [they’re] obviously reaching out to Republicans to see if they would join them.”


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