Cooper to Vote in Favor of Impeachment
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) issued the following statement on his decision to vote to charge President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress:
“The Tennessee—and the U.S.—model for proper behavior during impeachment is the late Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, a lifelong Republican who had the courage to take down Richard Nixon, a president of his own party, once he learned the truth. Baker, aided by Tennessee lawyer Fred Thompson (who later became a Republican U.S. Senator in his own right), thoroughly investigated Nixon and then, when they found evidence of wrongdoing, favored impeachment. Nixon, of course, then quickly resigned the presidency before being impeached.
Baker’s famous question was, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” Baker was not punished by the Republican Party for his bravery. He later, for example, served as President Ronald Reagan’s Chief of Staff.
Republicans today are so afraid of Trump’s supporters that they are not publicly curious, although they often conclude, privately, that he’s guilty. Democrats are relying on overwhelmingly credible witness testimony to try to get the facts. Congress has not yet obtained the equivalent of the White House tapes that sank Nixon. The most important White House witnesses like John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and Don McGahn have been blocked from testimony by Trump himself, the first president in U.S. history to completely defy investigations by Congress, even by the Republican Senate.
But the evidence against Trump is overwhelming. John Bolton apparently called Trump’s Ukrainian policy a “drug deal” and the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, a “hand grenade.” Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is already in prison, as is the President’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The President’s former top national security advisor, Michael Flynn, is on his way to prison. Is it possible that so many of the President’s top advisors were criminals but he knew nothing of their wrongdoing? The President’s former chief of staff, Admiral John Kelly, warned him that he was headed for impeachment.
If this whole mess were about foreign aid then perhaps Americans could get over it. But it is really about Trump helping Russia, America’s enemy, by denying anti-tank weapons to our Ukrainian allies as they tried to beat back Russian occupation. These are life and death issues; already 13,000 Ukrainians have died in the struggle. It is about Trump asking three foreign powers, Ukraine, Russia, and China, to interfere in our U.S. elections. It is about Trump disrespecting all of our U.S. intelligence agencies. It is about Trump, after the 2016 campaign interrupted his efforts to build Trump Tower Moscow, cozying up to Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, and to other vicious, murderous dictators around the world.
Should we overlook such wrongdoing? Howard Baker did not overlook a much more modest offense, the “third-rate burglary” at the Watergate.
Tennessee is directly harmed by the Russian influence that President Trump has been condoning. The TEN_GOP twitter page with 150,000 followers was a Russian operation designed to confuse Tennessee voters, and was retweeted multiple times by the President’s son. Tennessee soldiers are harmed when the President abruptly, after a phone call with his favorite Turkish dictator, pulled our troops from the Syrian border, endangering our Kurdish allies and giving Russia a green light to expand their murderous influence in the area. The President’s repeated criticism of NATO, the most successful military alliance in the world, has only emboldened Russia as it has discouraged our strongest and most loyal allies.
We, in the United States, are increasingly threatened by Russia and China. Our lives and liberty are threatened by the rulers of those countries. Yet our President has been enabling and encouraging them. Such behavior is impeachable.
No one can speak for Senator Baker, but I feel confident that he would be voting for impeachment today if he were in the House of Representatives. That’s the way that I am voting: Yes, for impeachment. We have enough proof of “high crimes and misdemeanors” to send the President’s wrongdoing to the Senate for trial. That’s what the Constitution demands of us.”