Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, argued from the Senate floor Monday that President Donald Trump should be censured rather than removed from office over his actions asking the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
"I see no path to the 67 votes required to impeach President Trump and haven’t since this trial started," Manchin said. "However, I do believe a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump for his actions in this matter."
Manchin, who has supported Trump's border wall, and has said his endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016 was a "mistake," said he has yet to decide how he will vote on Wednesday on conviction in Trump's impeachment trial.
But, he argued to his colleagues, "Censure would allow this body to unite across party lines and as an equal branch of government formally denounce the president’s actions and hold him accountable."
Trump's "behavior cannot go unchecked by the Senate and a censure would allow a bipartisan statement condemning his unacceptable behavior in the strongest terms," Manchin said.
So far, no other member of Senate, either Democrat or Republican, has made a serious suggestion of censure.
Trump's acquittal is easily expected in the Republican-controlled Senate. But if any Democrat did side with the president, Manchin would be the most likely candidate.
According to a 2018 FactCheck.org article, Manchin votes with the Trump agenda 60.5% of the time, more than any of other Democrat in in the upper chamber, and has often been speculated as one to switch parties — a rumor he has constantly swatted down.
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