But there is a way out of this mess that would let the House impeach him—while allowing the Senate only to censure Trump, rather than having to vote to convict or acquit him. The House could express its disapproval of Trump through an impeachment vote, and the Senate, through censure rather than a trial, could embrace, even enhance, the House’s message. Yes, Trump would stay in office. But because both chambers of Congress would be on the record in officially condemning his conduct, there is a decent chance this approach might deter Trump from similar elections abuse.

Is there really a way to accomplish this, when Senate acquittal seems such a foregone conclusion? Yes, with a little bit of procedural creativity on the part of the House.

We can call this strategy “conditional impeachment.” Here’s how it would work: The House adopts its articles of impeachment, as it is planning to do. But it also adopts a separate resolution saying that the House will deliver the impeachment articles to the Senate only if the Senate fails to censure the president for his Ukraine-related misconduct by a specified date. If the Senate does censure Trump, the House could refrain from delivering the articles of impeachment to the Senate at all.