Seeking political cover in a state Donald Trump won easily in 2016, one Democratic senator is calling for a lighter punishment for the president.
Senator Joe Manchin III hails from Trump-friendly West Virginia and has been among a small handful of Senate Democrats who have said they are open to voting with Republicans on Wednesday to acquit President Trump on charges of abusing his office and stonewalling Congress.
Mr Manchin signalled Monday he could be poised to do just that -- but also try pleasing Democratic voters back home by pushing his colleagues to censure Mr Trump over his actions towards Ukraine.
The coming votes on the House-passed impeachment articles poses political risks for some moderate Republican and Democratic senators who represent states where the electorate is not merely red or blue.
For instance, Maine GOP Senator Susan Collins faces a tough re-election fight. She voted on Friday with Democrats on motions to call witnesses in the now-concluded Senate trial. All those motions failed.
The West Virginia Democrat rolled out a censure resolution that states Mr Trump’s actions were an “attempt to compel a foreign nation to interfere with domestic political affairs for his own personal benefit” and that he “wrongfully enlisted his personal lawyer to investigate a domestic political rival by meddling in formal diplomatic relations.”
Mr Manchin’s measure also states the president “hindered the thorough investigation of related documents and prohibited Congress and the American people from hearing testimony by firsthand witnesses with direct knowledge of his conduct.”
President Trump won 68.5 per cent of the vote there in 2016.