Politics

Democratic Senator Says He’s ‘Gravely Concerned’ That Acquittal Will Embolden Trump

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) suggested he’s worried President Donald Trump will feel empowered to seek foreign interference in the 2020 election should Republicans exonerate him in a possible impeachment trial in the Senate.

Coons, who sits on the Senate’s Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees, made the comments during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when asked to respond to an article published last week by Politico’s Kyle Cheney.

Host Chuck Todd read an excerpt from the piece: “What happens when a remorseless president commits the same behavior that got him impeached in the first place — only this time after the House has already deployed the most potent weapon in its arsenal?” 

“That’s one of my real concerns,” Coons responded. He suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was reluctant to impeach Trump but felt compelled to because of the allegations against him.

An anonymous whistleblower, as well as several current and former State Department officials, say Trump withheld U.S. military aid in an effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden.

“What Donald Trump is alleged to have done ― and all evidence points to him having done it, which is to invite foreign interference in our next election ― undermines the very core of our democracy, which is free and fair elections where foreign parties aren’t influencing the outcome,” Coons said.

He continued: “If he is ultimately exonerated in the Senate, if the Senate Republican majority refuses to discipline him through impeachment, he will be unbounded. And I am gravely concerned about what else he might do between now and the 2020 election when there are no restrictions on his behavior.”

Some Senate Republicans have already signaled that they will vote to acquit the president should Congress move forward with impeachment as expected. The full House is set to vote this week on whether to impeach Trump. If they vote yes, then a trial to assess whether he should be removed from office will begin in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that he’s planning to work in “total coordination” with the White House counsel on impeachment and that there’s “no chance” Trump will be removed from office.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), before a potential trial in the Senate has even begun, said Sunday that he would vote against removing Trump from office.

“I want to end it,” Graham told CBS’s “Face the Nation” about the impeachment proceedings. “I have nothing but disdain for this.”




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