TN Congressman proposes impeaching President Trump

Published: Aug. 17, 2017 at 1:24 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2017 at 8:09 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMC) - Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen announced that he plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as soon as he returns to Congress.

The impeachment effort is in response to Trump's comments about the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Part of his oath of office is to take care that the laws are executed appropriately, carried out, if he can't even identify domestic terrorists and equates them with American protesters of anti-American values, he is not capable of leading us," Cohen said. "There's nothing more important than democracy, and democracy is at risk with this man as President. He doesn't understand America, he doesn't understand his job as President. He's morally, ethically and intellectually incapable of being president of the United State of America."

Cohen said Trump should be impeached for not unequivocally condemning actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and Klansmen after a national tragedy.

"Instead of unequivocally condemning hateful actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Klansmen following a national tragedy, the President said 'there were very fine people on both sides.' There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen," Cohen said. "With the President's abject failure of leadership...I had no choice but to introduce these articles of impeachment."

Cohen goes on to compare the events to the Holocaust, citing that white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted the Nazi slogan, "blood and soil," as well as, "Jews will not replace us."

"None of the marchers spewing such verbiage could be considered 'very fine people' as the President suggested," Cohen said.

When asked if these things are impeachable offenses for a President, Cohen said the founding documents of our country are not specific on what are impeachable offenses. He said if half of the Congress votes to impeach and 66 percent of the Senate votes to convict, the President could be impeached for jaywalking.

Despite his vigor, Cohen admits it's currently an uphill battle to get the votes required to impeach Trump.

However, Cohen said he believes the tide is turning against Trump and those who defend his actions. He said he expects Democrats to win some Congressional seats in the next election.

"If we [Democrats] get a majority, impeachment will be a front line issue in 2019. If we don't get a majority, but make major gains, the Republicans will see the writing on the wall for 2020 and they will initiate impeachment to get Trump out, put Pence in, and hopefully save their rear ends," Cohen said.

One Tennessee Republican condemned Trump on Thursday by saying he had not shown that he "understands what has made this nation great."

As for the Confederate monuments in Memphis, Cohen supports removing the monuments. He said Mayor Jim Strickland and City Council both approved removing the monuments. However, the law gives the final say of moving Memphis' Confederate monuments to a board. Cohen said since Governor Bill Haslam appoints the members of that board, he is to blame for the monuments still being up.

Cohen said Haslam should go to the board and get them to vote in favor of removing the monuments.

Cohen's full statement on the release of articles of impeachment is below:

"I have expressed great concerns about President Trump's ability to lead our country in the Resolution of No Confidence (H.Res. 456) that I introduced in July with 29 of my colleagues; however, after the President's comments on Saturday, August 12 and again on Tuesday, August 15 in response to the horrific events in Charlottesville, I believe the President should be impeached and removed from office. Instead of unequivocally condemning hateful actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Klansmen following a national tragedy, the President said 'there were very fine people on both sides.' There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen."

"We fought a World War to defeat Nazis, and a Civil War to defeat the Confederacy.  In reaction to the downfall of the Confederacy, and the subsequent passage of the Reconstruction Amendments to our constitution, the KKK embarked on a dastardly campaign to terrorize and intimidate African Americans from exercising their newly acquired civil rights.  Subsequent incarnations of the Klan continued to terrorize African Americans with lynchings and civil rights murders such as the assassination of Medgar Evers and the killings of Schwerner, Chaney, Goodman and other civil rights workers."

"When I watched the videos from the protests in Charlottesville, it reminded me of the videos I've seen of Kristallnacht in 1938 in Nazi Germany. It appeared that the Charlottesville protesters were chanting 'Jews will not replace us' and 'blood and soil,' an infamous Nazi slogan, as they marched with torches that conjured up images of Klan rallies. None of the marchers spewing such verbiage could be considered 'very fine people' as the President suggested. And it certainly appeared the participants were in lock-step. Some of the white nationalist protesters were interviewed by the media, such as Sean Patrick Nielsen. He said one of his three reasons for being there was 'killing Jews.' Another was Christopher Cantwell, one of the white nationalist leaders, who said he couldn't watch 'that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl' and said he hoped 'somebody like Donald Trump, but who does not give his daughter to a Jew,' would lead this country. As a Jew and as an American and as a representative of an African American district, I am revolted by the fact that the President of the United States couldn't stand up and unequivocally condemn Nazis who want to kill Jews and whose predecessors murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, and could not unequivocally condemn Klansmen whose organization is dedicated to terrorizing African Americans.

"President Trump has failed the presidential test of moral leadership. No moral president would ever shy away from outright condemning hate, intolerance and bigotry. No moral president would ever question the values of Americans protesting in opposition of such actions, one of whom was murdered by one of the white nationalists. Senator John McCain rightfully tweeted this week that there was 'no moral equivalency between racists and Americans standing up to defy hate.' Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, "Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists." President Trump has shown time and time again that he lacks the ethical and moral rectitude to be President of the United States. Not only has he potentially obstructed justice and potentially violated the Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause, but he has also shown that he is incapable or unwilling to protect Americans from enemies, foreign and domestic. Neo-Nazis and the KKK are domestic terrorists. If the President can't recognize the difference between these domestic terrorists and the people who oppose their anti-American attitudes, then he cannot defend us."

Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who was an outspoken critic of Adolph Hitler, said:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

"They have come for me, and for the majority of my Congressional constituency. Accordingly, I must speak out today after what happened on Saturday and our President's subsequent response. It is morally and legally incumbent upon me, based on my oath of office, to introduce articles of impeachment."

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