Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine are putting together a censure resolution intended to bar former President Donald Trump from running for office.
The effort moved to the forefront after 45 senators voted on Tuesday for GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s point of order finding the impeachment of a former president unconstitutional.
“That is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process,” Paul noted in a tweet after the vote.
The Senate just voted on my constitutional point of order.
45 Senators agreed that this sham of a “trial” is unconstitutional.
That is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process.
This “trial” is dead on arrival in the Senate.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 26, 2021
Kaine told PBS the following day that the chances of convicting Trump are “virtually zero” in light of that outcome, given the 67 votes (a two-thirds majority in the Senate) needed to do so.
According to Kaine, his and Collins’ resolution, an alternative to impeachment requiring only 60 votes, would “declare the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, an insurrection against the Constitution of the United States because they were trying to stop us from doing our constitutional duty in counting certified Electoral votes.”
“It would find that President Trump gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol by preaching a big lie about election fraud and encouraging to gather in D.C. for a ‘wild’ event and encouraging them to go up and raise hell with Congress,” he added.
Kaine then cited the post-Civil War 14th Amendment, Section 3, which says:
“No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Kaine argued that if such a resolution were to pass, it could be used as evidence in courts of law to prove Trump is ineligible to run for office.
“That would be for courts to decide,” the Democrat conceded.
The prospect of such a resolution actually preventing Trump from running for president is dubious, according to both NBC News and The Hill.
First, University of Texas School of Law in Austin professor Steve Vladeck explained to NBC News that courts have never decided if “an officer of the United States,” as provided in the 14th Amendment, includes the president.
“Assuming the phrase does apply to the president, if the Senate passed a censure resolution declaring that Trump engaged in insurrection, that might trigger a state to block him from the ballot if he decided to run in 2024. Trump could then sue, and the courts would have to decide the issue,” NBC News reported.
“Trying to use a resolution to bar the president from future office would put Congress in the middle of murky legal and political waters,” according to The Hill.
Even if the president is considered “an officer of the United States,” how can Trump’s words and actions on Jan. 6 be labeled an insurrection?
He encouraged his hundreds of thousands of supporters in Washington, D.C., “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” which the vast majority of them did.
To the relative few who didn’t, Trump voiced his disapproval on Twitter, instructing everyone “to remain peaceful,” engage in “no violence” and “respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue.”
Trump later released a video statement telling all his supporters to “go home.”
That sounds like the opposite of promoting an insurrection.
Additionally, if merely calling the election results into question is an act of insurrection, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has done so on multiple occasions over the last four years, as has the current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 16, 2017
The Democrats’ push to censure Trump demonstrates that they are afraid he will run again and win.
It is a sign of weakness and certainly works against the “unity” message President Joe Biden delivered in his inaugural address.
This article appeared originally on Patriot Project.
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