“I think it’s either fear or complicity.” That is how former Maine Republican senator and secretary of defense William S. Cohen tries to explain Republicans’ subservience to President Trump and willful disregard for replete evidence of corruption. “It’s predominantly fear. He will target them,” Cohen tells me in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.
He points to Trump’s public declaration that four congresswomen of color should “fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” and “go back” home. Trump, in Cohen’s eyes, ”put a target on their back.” He also cites Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine who was told her safety was at risk when she was ordered back to the United States, and the recent conviction of a woman caught sending white powder to Cohen’s former staffer, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Cohen, in other words, thinks there is more than the threat of an errant tweet. The prospect of actual physical harm cannot be ignored.
Cohen also says some Republicans are happy with Trump so they bend over backward to protect him. “They may just argue that he is a disrupter,” he said. He cites Trump’s decision to take on China, albeit in “totally the wrong way.”
Cohen has no doubt that Trump has abused his power and committed impeachable acts. He starts with Trump’s public accusations and threats against lawmakers. “Certainly that’s an abuse of power. There’s nothing like the president basically inciting [attacks].” Trump does this, Cohen says, when he suggests a “civil war” would occur if he were ousted. “Now we have people walking around with AR-15s and AK-47s. What are we doing here?” [Continue reading…]