Kaine eyes next week to file censure aiming to bar Trump from future office

Kaine eyes next week to file censure aiming to bar Trump from future office
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineLiberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill Menendez jabs State official over Colombian group's terror designation MORE (D-Va.) said Thursday that he is looking at next week to file his resolution to formally condemn former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE and try to bar him from holding future office. 

Kaine is still gathering input but has drafted a resolution that would formally censure Trump. It also includes provisions that would mirror language in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment on barring officials from holding future office. 

"In a way I view it as kind of censure-plus because it has these two factual findings that could have the same consequence as an impeachment conviction," Kaine said. "It's not just, 'hey you did those things and that's bad.' " 

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Kaine added that the language in the resolution — which he noted was technically a condemnation resolution — would have "practical consequences" if Trump runs for office again, something he's flirted with. 

In addition to condemning Trump, the resolution makes two findings, according to Kaine: that Jan. 6 was an insurrection and that Trump gave "aid and comfort to the insurrection." 

"If he ever were to decide to run again, which may not happen, then likely a court or somebody would say OK what about your behavior in January of 2021 including the congressional fact finding," Kaine said, predicting that "Congress finding the facts would be given great deference by a court." 

Democrats, including Kaine, have been looking at the 14th Amendment as a way to bar Trump from holding office. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Progressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) has vowed that the Senate will hold a vote to block Trump from running for office again if it convicts him as part of his second impeachment trial. But with 45 Republicans backing an effort this week to declare the trial unconstitutional due to Trump no longer holding office senators in both parties recognize that is all-but-guaranteed not to happen. 

The 14th Amendment jumped into the national discussion in the wake of the Capitol riot, in addition to impeachment and talk of invoking the 25th Amendment, an idea rejected by then-Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceHaley hits the stump in South Carolina Mitch McConnell's great Trumpian miscalculation Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that no public officials who had “previously taken an oath” to support the Constitution will hold office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

The Senate has previously only censored one president, Andrew Jackson, an action that it walked back three years later. 

Trying to use a resolution to bar the president from future office would put Congress in the middle of murky legal and political waters. 

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinConservatives target Biden pick for New York district court Democrats, GOP pitch parliamentarian on immigration policies in spending bill Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill MORE (D-Ill.) previously said that he had not been convinced that the 14th Amendment resolution could be used against Trump without a conviction. 

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But he told reporters this week that Democrats would look at alternatives, like a censure resolution, if they aren't able to convict Trump. 

"If something ... is to be done ... on the censure, then that would follow the trial if they so wish," Durbin said.

Democrats would likely not go forward with censure if they couldn't get the 10 Republican votes needed to get the resolution over a procedural hurdle. The measure faces tough odds as a growing number of GOP senators are signaling they want to move on from the Capitol attack. 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Real relief from high gas prices The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron MORE (R-Maine) has been discussing the resolution with Kaine. Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP anger with Fauci rises No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions MORE (R-Utah) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCongress should reject H.R. 1619's dangerous anywhere, any place casino precedent Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks MORE (R-Alaska) have also said they would review the language. But even if all three signed on, something that is not guaranteed, that would still leave Democrats short. 

But other Republicans made it clear that there will be little appetite after an impeachment trial to discuss alternatives. 

“I appreciate they're thinking outside the box," Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHillicon Valley — Chinese disinformation accounts removed GOP resistance to Biden FCC nominee could endanger board's Democratic majority Bottom line MORE (R-Miss.) told reporters. "We’re past that point.”