Spanberger, Luria say they aren’t part of push to censure Trump

The U.S. Capitol. (Image by skeeze from Pixabay )

WASHINGTON — Two freshman Virginia lawmakers in swing districts said Tuesday that they’re not among the U.S. House Democrats reportedly considering an effort to censure President Donald Trump rather than impeach him.

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

“I’ve not been involved in any of those conversations, so I have nothing to comment on,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico) told the Mercury in a brief interview on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve made it very clear in my op-ed that I thought the allegations as they stand represent impeachable offenses,” she added, referring to an op-ed she co-authored in September that condemned reports that Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Trump’s political opponent.

Also asked about the prospect of censure on Tuesday, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) said she thought censure discussions were “long dead.” She added, “It’s not even being talked about.”

U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk.

Politico reported earlier Tuesday that about 10 vulnerable House Democrats in districts Trump won were floating the censure idea. The group includes 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 told Politico about the possibility of a censure resolution.

A Spanberger spokesman said in an email that Spanberger “is thoroughly examining the two articles put forward today by the Judiciary Committee. She is also reading the entire 300-page report prepared by the House Intelligence Committee, the minority rebuttal, and the report prepared by the Judiciary Committee to make sure she has a full grasp of the facts as she weighs this very serious decision.”

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) also said Tuesday that she’s not involved in those conversations. She said she supports the two articles of impeachment introduced earlier in the day and will “in all likelihood vote for both of them,” but hasn’t made a final decision yet.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Nelson) said the discussions about censure are an indication that Democrats don’t “have a whole lot right now” in terms of evidence against the president.

“I’m trying not to be too cynical,” he said. “The fact that they’re floating those censure ideas leads me to believe that they’re having some problem with their own internal polling.”

Riggleman said, “I don’t think you’ll have one Republican that votes for impeachment or censure at this point.” He said he’ll vote against both impeachment articles offered by Democrats.

Riggleman criticized the integrity of Democrats’ investigation, citing his background as an intelligence officer. “When you look at the facts of the case and you consider the source, it’s very difficult for me to know why we’re even doing it at this point.”

He also called the process overly politicized. “No matter where you go on this, it almost seems like it’s shirts and skins, and I think that’s a shame.”