Democrat Introduces Articles of Impeachment Against Trump for Charlottesville Response

By Melanie Arter | August 17, 2017 | 1:18 PM EDT

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) (Screenshot)
( - Seizing on the outrage at President Donald Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) announced Thursday that he is introducing articles of impeachment against the president, saying Trump "has failed the presidential test of moral leadership."

Cohen had already expressed that he had no confidence in the president, when he introduced the "Resolution of No Confidence" last month.

“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," the congressman said in a statement on his website.

"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.

“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," he said. 

"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,” Cohen added.

As previously reported, Trump said Tuesday that both sides in Charlottesville were violent and that not all the people protesting were white supremacists - some were just there to protest the taking down of the Robert E. Lee statue.

"I will tell you something. I watched those very closely -- much more closely than you people watched it, and you have -- you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now," he said. 

When asked whether he thinks what he called the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis, Trump said, "Those people -- all of those people --excuse me, I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee."

Cohen, who is Jewish, said the protests by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in last weekend reminded him of Ku Klux Klan rallies and of Kristallnacht, also referred to as "the Night of Broken Glass," when Nazis torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools, and businesses, and killed close to 100 Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

“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," Cohen said.

"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," he said. "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," Cohen said. 

Cantwell was referring to the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump's daughter, Ivanka, who converted to Judaism.

"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," Cohen said.

“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," he said.

"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," Cohen said.

"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,” he said.

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