Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), lead House manager in the Senate impeachment trial, has spent the past few weeks unsuccessfully attempting to convince a significant portion of the chamber’s Republican majority of the urgent need to convict and remove President Donald Trump from office.
Worse, Schiff is now losing Democrats. Moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) suggested on Monday that the Senate should move to censure the president instead of proceeding with a partisan attempt to remove the president, according to The Hill. Manchin said that he is “struggling” to decide whether to vote for acquittal or conviction.
Manchin offers up an alternative
Manchin’s comments came on Monday during a portion of the impeachment trial in which each senator has been granted an allotted amount of time to speak their mind with regard to the trial and where they stand on the matter of impeachment.
The West Virginia Democrat made it clear that, while he agrees with Schiff that what President Trump was alleged to have done in regard to Ukraine and former Vice President Joe Biden was “wrong,” he differed from them on the question of whether those alleged actions rise to the level of impeachable and removable offenses.
“I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump for his actions in this matter,” Manchin said in his speech on the Senate floor. “Censure would allow this body to unite across party lines, and as an equal branch of government to formally denounce the president’s actions and hold him accountable.”
“His behavior cannot go unchecked by the Senate, and censure would allow a bipartisan statement condemning his unacceptable behavior in the strongest terms,” he continued. “History will judge the Senate for how we have handled this solemn constitutional duty.”
A proposal for censure
Though Manchin’s proposed censure of President Trump could receive the support of a handful of moderate Republicans, especially those who’ve admitted some measure of wrongdoing on Trump’s part, The Hill noted that it was unlikely to persuade the majority of GOP senators, many of whom maintain that the president didn’t do anything wrong.
Manchin’s resolution states that President Trump “used the Office of the President of the United States to attempt to compel a foreign nation to interfere with domestic political affairs for his own personal benefit,” and that he “wrongfully enlisted his personal lawyer to investigate a domestic political rival by meddling in formal diplomatic relations.”
The Democrat senator asserts that Trump’s actions “abused the trust of the American people” and is deserving of censure since his “conduct in this matter is unacceptable for a President of the United States, does demean the Office of the President, and creates disrespect for laws of the land.”
His resolution called for censure that would “condemn his wrongful conduct in the strongest terms.” Manchin’s resolution further called upon “future Congresses” to refrain from overriding or undoing the measure and urged the current Congress to “move on to other matters,” “reconcile differences” between branches and parties, and actually work together in a bipartisan fashion to address the actual needs of the American people.
Just get back to business already
While it remains unclear if Manchin’s proposal will catch on as an acceptable alternative for Democrat senators who are looking for a way out of voting to convict President Trump, it nevertheless has made at least one thing clear — Adam Schiff has failed to adequately make the case for why the president should be ousted from office.
Hopefully, following the president’s inevitable acquittal on Wednesday, the Senate can at least adopt the last portion of Manchin’s proposal and “move on” to dealing with the people’s business that has been placed on the back burner for the past several months while Schiff and comrades engaged in their quixotic pursuit.