According to a new report from Politico, a small group of vulnerable Democrats in swing districts is floating the idea of censure instead of impeachment.
While they are unlikely to succeed, as the group has around 10 and they would need roughly 18 votes to block impeachment, their attempt shows a real fear among swing district Democrats that voting for impeachment in a district Trump won could mean losing in 2020.
The lawmakers listed by Politico floating censure include:
Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.)
Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.)
Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.)
Ben McAdams (D-Utah.)
Politico reports a small group of vulnerable House Democrats is floating the longshot idea of censuring President Donald Trump instead of impeaching him, according to multiple lawmakers familiar with the conversations.
Those Democrats, all representing districts that Trump won in 2016, huddled on Monday afternoon in an 11th-hour bid to weigh additional — though unlikely — options to punish the president for his role in the Ukraine scandal as the House speeds toward an impeachment vote next week.
The group of about 10 Trump-district lawmakers included Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), and Ben McAdams (D-Utah.).
“I think it’s certainly appropriate and might be a little more bipartisan, who knows,” Schrader said Tuesday when asked about the possibility of a censure resolution. But he acknowledged: “Time’s slipping by.”
The idea of censure, according to the lawmakers, is to offer a competing alternative to impeachment that could attract at least some Republican support on the floor. It would also help Democrats avoid a lengthy impeachment trial in the Senate, which some in this group fear could tilt public opinion toward the GOP in the final months before the 2020 election.
“Right now, there’s no other options. This is another option,” said one lawmaker who attended Monday’s meeting.
The moderate Democrats know the odds of such an outcome are slim. Democratic leaders are confident that both articles of impeachment — which were publicly unveiled Tuesday morning — will have the necessary support on the floor, and they expect to lose few of their members.
The group of centrists is also far short of the roughly 18 votes needed to block impeachment on the floor, and any censure resolution would be nearly impossible to sell to the caucus at this point, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team have already settled on impeaching the president.