Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) on Monday called for the upper chamber to censure President Donald Trump over the allegations House Democrats made against the president in the impeachment trial, saying he believes a partisan impeachment would further divide the country and arguing that the condemnation of President Trump's alleged actions (without removal from office) would have bipartisan support.
Manchin has not disclosed how he plans to vote on the articles of impeachment, slated for Wednesday.
What are the details?
"The purpose of impeachment is not to punish the president, but to protect the public," Manchin argued from the Senate floor. "The ultimate question is not whether the president's conduct warrants his removal from office, but whether our nation is better served by his removal by the Senate now — with impeachment — or by the decision the voters will make in November."
"Never before in the history of our Republic has there been a purely partisan impeachment vote of a president," the West Virginia Democrat continued. "Removing this president at this time would not only further divide our deeply divided nation, but also further poison our toxic political atmosphere."
Sen. Manchin explained, "I see no path to the 67 votes required to impeach President Trump, and haven't since this trial started. However, I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump for his actions."
He reasoned, "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," Manchin added. "History will judge the Senate for how we have handled this solemn constitutional duty, and without bipartisan action
The resolution proposed by Sen. Manchin states that President Trump used his office "to attempt to compel a foreign nation to interfere with domestic political affairs for his own personal benefit," and "wrongfully enlisted his personal lawyers to investigate a domestic political rival by meddling in formal diplomatic relations in a manner that is inconsistent with our established National Security Strategy."
It further states that the president "hindered the thorough investigation of related documents and prohibited Congress and the American people from hearing testimony by first-hand witnesses with direct knowledge of his conduct."
NEW: Sen. Manchin calls for President Trump to be censured, but adds that he remains "undecided" on his impeachment… https://t.co/wQeUQkFI9q— MSNBC (@MSNBC)1580769245.0
There appears to be little appetite from Senate Republicans or Democrats for Manchin's motion to censure President Trump.
The Hill reported that "Manchin's proposal has received little traction among Senate Republicans who control the schedule, but it could gain the support of a handful of Republicans who have expressed concerns over Trump's actions," namely Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Mitt Romney (Utah).
According to The Washington Post, "several Democrats also said they were unsold on censure, calling it a punishment well short of what Trump deserves."