In an interview with NBC broadcast on Sunday, Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said that he is “gravely concerned” about what President Donald Trump would do if exonerated in the impeachment proceedings, reports Politico.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is set to wrap up the impeachment process, which will end next week once lawmakers vote on the articles of impeachment against the president. The process will then move to the GOP-controlled Senate, where senators will determine whether Trump is guilty of what he is being accused of.
“If he is ultimately exonerated in the Senate, if the Senate Republican majority refuses to discipline him through impeachment, he will be unbounded,” Coons warned.
An exoneration, the Democrat suggested, would embolden Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Coons is “gravely concerned about what else he might do between now and the 2020 election, when there are no restrictions on his behavior.”
The Delaware Democrat also weighed in on the accusations Trump is facing, praising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for moving forward with the inquiry. As Politico notes, Pelosi was initially opposed to impeachment, but changed her position following allegations that Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.
According to Coons, evidence suggests Trump attempted to “invite foreign interference in our next election,” which “undermines the very core of our democracy, which is free and fair elections where foreign parties aren’t influencing the outcome.”
Democrats allege that Trump used the power of his office to pressure the Ukrainian government to launch investigations into his political opponents, former Vice President Joe Biden, among others. In order to force Ukrainian authorities to comply with his requests, Trump froze — and threatened to permanently cut — military aid, Democrats claim.
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. @ChrisCoons reacts to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell coordinating with the president's lawyers. #MTP #IfItsSunday— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 15, 2019
"I certainly think what he should start by doing is trying to show the American people in history that this is a serious trial." pic.twitter.com/9ufY4yFthw
Nearly every Republican in Congress has spent the past week defending Trump, and pushing back against Democratic accusations. The Senate is not expected to vote to convict the president, and even Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged that, stating that there is “no chance” a trial leads to conviction.
There is a possibility that some Republican senators defect and vote to convict Trump, according to GOP operative Douglas MacKinnon. MacKinnon, who was a writer in the White House for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, argued in a Saturday column that “seemingly loyal” Republican senators may be setting a trap for the president.
According to MacKinnon, the White House is underestimating the dangers of the Senate trial, and Trump and his allies should be concerned about Republicans representing purple states.