Capitol riot aftermath: What is censure?

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President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Washington. The president was returning from Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


With members of Congress on both sides of the aisle rattled in the aftermath of a siege of the Capitol Building, lawmakers are looking at ways to respond to President Trump’s actions leading up to the riot.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is open to a censure of the president, according to an aide familiar with his thinking. He remains opposed to impeachment.

REP. MCCARTHY IS OPEN TO CENSURING TRUMP: SOURCE

President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Washington. The president was returning from Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Some Democrats have also supported that idea, arguing that it would be less divisive than a second impeachment, even with articles of impeachment expected to be sent to the Senate as early as Wednesday.

A group of House Republicans introduced a resolution Tuesday night to censure Trump in connection with his dispute of the 2020 presidential election results and “violating his oath of office” before a Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” the resolution reads.

It calls on Congress to publicly declare Trump has “acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”

But what is a censure?

Censure is a formal statement of disapproval. There are no legal consequences.

The House has three formal modes of discipline for its members: reprimand, censure and expulsion. In the Senate, censures can also be referred to as condemnations or denouncements.

Censure is different for presidents than for members of Congress.

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President Andrew Jackson was censured by the Senate in 1834 in a dispute over the Bank of the United States. It was only time in history the Senate has censured a president, and the move was expunged when the Senate changed hands three years later.

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There was also a resolution admonishing President James Buchanan in 1860. There were attempts to censure other presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and William Howard Taft.

The House has only censured 23 members in history – including former New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel in 2010. He was censured for misusing the congressional letterhead for fundraising purposes, using rent-controlled offices as a campaign headquarters and “inaccurate” financial reports and tax returns. The Senate has censured nine of its members stretching back to 1789.

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Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.



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