Sen. Coons ‘Concerned’ About ‘Lack of Passion for Restraining Our President’

By Susan Jones | November 27, 2019 | 8:47am EST
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)  (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) called it “disheartening” that more Americans don’t want President Trump impeached and removed from office after the “compelling” and “damning” testimony of various (mostly second-hand) witnesses in the past few weeks.

“It is striking that 50 percent of Americans think our president should be impeached and removed and that number hasn't moved after that striking testimony ,” Coons told CNN’s Erica Hill on Tuesday.

I'm concerned that what this says is that there is a lack of passion for restraining our president when he engages in just bald inappropriate conduct.

A number of my Republican colleagues have said, yes, what he did was inappropriate, even against our national security interests, but that it doesn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

That's a matter that I suspect will soon land in front of us in the Senate, where we will sit as if we are jurors, and we will be charged to take an oath that we will do justice.

So, my hope and expectation is that my colleagues of both parties will take this seriously, will consider the evidence that's put in front of us. But I'm instructed that, even this week, as President Trump is saying, oh, well, I'd love to testify, and I'd love to have Mike Pompeo or Mick Mulvaney testify, all he has to do is tell them to do so.

Their testimony would add a great deal to this. And I think that might move the needle more.

Coons urged Republicans to look beyond Trump’s behavior to the “long-term” picture: “I do think those of us in Congress have to be looking at long -- at the long term, at history, and at what sort of a precedent we're setting for the guardrails on presidential misconduct in office.”

The senator urged Republicans to mull it over, during the Thanksgiving break:

"I think the challenge now over this Thanksgiving break is for Republican House members and senators to reflect on what role they want to play in this.

"Whether they want to simply follow the polls and think about what's perhaps in their best interest at the next election or think about history and what precedent we're setting in terms of a president who is engaging in an unprecedented attack on long-standing traditions of keeping a personal, political and partisan interest out of how we conduct our foreign policy."

Coons said he will “weigh all the evidence” before deciding whether to convict the president in the Senate.

“So far, I haven't seen any evidence that's exculpatory that would explain the president's perspective," Coons said. (Republicans say that's partly because they haven't been allowed to call the witnesses they want to hear from.)

"That's why I hope he does testify, or that he does have his secretary of state, or acting OMB director, or chief of staff -- excuse me -- testify.

"I haven't seen any evidence that gives the president's side or that explains his conduct as anything other than inappropriate. From what I have heard publicly and privately, I don't think there will be the votes to remove him if this does come to an impeachment trial in the Senate.

"And, to me, that's disheartening, because it removes guardrails on presidential misconduct," Coons repeated.


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