Donald Trump is all but acquitted, with the only step left being the totally predictable and predetermined outcome set in place months ago, but Joe Manchin has another idea. A dumb idea. A really dumb idea.
He wants to CENSURE Donald Trump.
Censure is basically a motion in Congress that has the same weight as a sharply worded tweet from Susan Collins expressing her "concern". It means nothing.
So Manchin, who thus far has not made it public whether he would vote to remove or acquit, is trying to walk the middle ground. He wants to try to convince the Republicans to censure. In a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Manchin said that he believes that "a bipartisan majority of this body would vote to censure President Trump...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...The most dangerous, the most troubling to me, is the false claim that the President can do no wrong, that he is above the law and if it's good for the reelection of the President that it's good for our country. That is simply preposterous."
In order for this motion to pass, it would only require a majority of the Senate, ie 51 (or just 4 Republicans). But, before the motion could be put up for a vote, Mitch McConnell would have to approve it. And he won't. Because Donald Trump has him in a headlock.
This is a coward's attempt at finding an offramp because he is too scared to vote to remove, even though he doesn't face any electoral peril and has the room to show some courage. Donald Trump used Congressionally appropriated taxpayer funds to pressure a foreign country to conduct an investigation into a political opponent. This is not something that requires a formal reprimand. This requires a vote to remove him from office. Anything less would be a pathetic and weak move.
Manchin needs to be better than this. But can he be? Or is he the Susan Collins of Democrats?