Cohen, who was a representative in the United States Congress during the Watergate scandal and later went on to serve in Bill Clinton’s cabinet, drew a parallel between Trump and Richard Nixon, suggesting that the commander-in-chief’s actions mirror Nixon’s.
“During the Nixon administration, you had the payment of hush money in order to silence witnesses. We’ve seen that take place,” Cohen said, referring to Trump’s payments to Stormy Daniels and his alleged attempts to intimidate key witnesses in the Mueller probe.
“You have obstructed justice, in addition to justice obstruction of Congress,” he said, in reference to the president’s alleged obstruction of justice pertaining to the Russia investigation and to his stonewalling of congressional investigations.
“With respect to Ukraine itself…the thing speaks for itself,” the former defense secretary asserted.
According to Cohen, the transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also “speaks for itself” and demonstrates that the commander-in-chief indeed attempted to pressure the government of Ukraine to go after his political opponents.
“It’s so clear that this was an attempt to extort or to bribe the leader of Ukraine. And I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind about that.”
Trump’s actions toward Ukraine are an “impeachable offense,” according to Cohen, but only “one of several,” he noted.
Democrats in the House of Representatives appear to agree with Cohen’s assessment, given that they have launched a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. According to them, the president used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family.
“If Susan Collins votes to impeach, I think the people of Maine will support her; if she votes against, I think the people of Maine will support her.” -William Cohen— Ben Winkler (@bwinkl3r) October 24, 2019
“That’s certainly an endorsement of Maine.” - @davidaxelrod#CitizenCNN pic.twitter.com/XLmRynj6Gt
House Democrats’ assertions are based on a complaint filed by an anonymous intelligence community whistleblower. According to the whistleblower, Trump threatened to cut military aid unless Ukraine complies with his requests, which suggests that the president had a quid pro quo agreement with his Ukrainian counterpart.
A number of Trump administration officials has corroborated the whistleblower’s claims, including U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor who told Congress earlier this week that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had talked to him about Trump pressuring Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, and about alleged Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has denied all accusations of wrongdoing, alleging that the impeachment inquiry is yet another partisan witch hunt meant to damage his presidency.
According to the former vice president, his family is being targeted because Trump fears running against him in 2020.