Listen: Democrats raise stakes with impeachment vote
"After weeks of factfinding behind closed doors the house is gearing up to vote on the best way to present it's impeachment inquiry to the public in what will likely be act to the investigation into the president's alleged quid pro With Ukraine the gathering political storm comes amid a flurry of damning testimonies from top officials most recent leap new Tannin Colonel Alexander Finland the Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who listened in on the phone call between President trump and you can Ukrainian presidents and landscape and said the White House those omitted details of the calls in its transcript today to more diplomats take the stand Christopher Anderson and Catherine craft both were for trump's former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker who helped the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani contact Ukrainian officials close to President's landscape now former Defense Secretary William Cohen is being closely watching these hearings member of the Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings he was one of the handful of Republicans who actually voted for President Nixon's impeachment and now he's calling for politicians on both sides of the aisle to put country before party they the current evidence and he's joining me now from Washington Secretary Cone Welcome to the program good to be with you so I ask you first and I do you think the house and the Senate are in fact going to or have they showed any evidence that they're putting country before politics I think some of them are I believe the the Democrats who are now leading in the house are trying to get at all of the facts is best they can I think they've gone about it the right way and that is to have private hearings or secret hearings in order make sure nothing is classified comes out an open testimony that's what happened during the Watergate era where the Watergate Committee had private hearings before they went public and as a result of those public hearings it certainly educated the American people in terms of what was at stake and then it came over to the House of Representatives we conducted almost all of our hearings in private and only went public when we started to debate the articles of impeachment so this kind of a hybrid here because there was no Senate Watergate Committee investigating a Watergate type committee investigating the president trump and his actions and so it's a hybrid now where the House has been required to go and dig out some of the facts before they go public and then they'll go public I assume within the next two weeks so it's very interesting who are really hammering this this fact that they have been doing their job behind closed doors because they needed to get all the relevant facts before they could go public I mean I assume you're saying that to answer the chorus of criticism from the Republicans and from members of president trump's as that this is somehow as he says it a kangaroo process with everything happening in a non-transparent way well much else what is being said its faults number one Republicans have been in the hearings behind closed doors and the spectacle that we saw last week with I'm forty or fifty Republicans storming the intelligence committee room was just that it was a spectacle because many of those who were storming the who was actually had seats on the inside and could have sat there if they hadn't at any time during the course of all of these hearings so I think it was more for a show that had little to do with the facts and the facts were being gathered by Republicans behind closed doors as well as the Democratic majority and so now will go public and I think it's really important it's not enough to have Robert Muller just read from his testimony what he had gathered as his his finding Wchs it's really important that those who have key information go before the American people be subjected to a critical examination in cross examination so the American public can understand what's at stake and what's at stake is the rule of law and whether or not the president has breached that rule whether or not he has engaged in conduct which in my opinion on its face is impeachable namely to call upon a foreign government a to dig up critical information or dirt on a potential of campaign competitor in the following in next year's race yeah I think that is something which on the face of it would be an impeachable offense I'm let me ask you you mentioned the rule of law that's obviously the fundamental principle of one of the main principles the United States and the democracy that are you concerned that the rule of law itself is under threat and are you concerned that the from the consistent attack on institutions in the United States is having an impact on the democratic process I am during the time of Harry Truman Indianapolis and others it was called you know watching the president that the beginning I think we're present at the end of that process they were present at the beginning of setting up these institutions in the United States and elsewhere which helped to maintain for the most part peace and stability for the past seven years I believe the president trump is in the process of knocking down those pillars and so he feels that he doesn't need any of these other institutional guards such to make that he feels that he alone own can take action without regard to any of the other institutions which are there to make sure that the rule of law stays intact and so that only I can do that assume that has the sound of a dictator or dictatorship where only I can solve this problem I don't need you for consultation I know more than the generals I know more than the ambassadors and I alone can take this action without regard to you congress I don't need you know have to come you and therefore it becomes one man rule now if the president can do that in his first term what we would we expect if he has second term and which has no need to go before the electorate again there's no need to go to Congress to say I'm sorry I broke this rule they'll be no rules that will go on broken in my opinion because he feels that he is above the law that he is the face of the law that he is the face of the Justice Department et Cetera. So I worry about the future as much as I worry about the present in terms of what is happening I want the president to abide by the rule of law and I want Republicans to say Mr President when you step over this line you have to be held accountable you cannot go to a foreign government and ask for assistance against dirt on your future opponent that crosses the line which should not be crossed now whether the majority in the Senate supermajority in the Senate two thirds of the Senate will vote for removal I think at this point is rather doubtful but in any event even if doubtful it is important for the American people to listen to the facts to say you may think it's okay for this president but do you want to set the standard and lower the standards for every other president in the future because what is good for president trump will be good for them and I've always believed I want to look up to the president I want to see the president as a shining example of what the rule of law supposed to look like in America and why we treasure that rule of law because if you don't have the rule of law you have the law of rules and that's something the president seems really more akin to he likes President Putin he likes Kim Jong Hoon he likes presentation paying he likes spreading the Erawan he doesn't much like our allies in terms of paying the same kind of tribute to them that he does to those who the kind of one man rule I mean you've just laid out a pretty alarming scenario I mean if I had to sum it up you pretty much saying that potential elite the United States is is on route to anti democracy I mean almost tyranny you've just said and from from somebody like yourself who's a pretty moderate Republican who served a Democratic president you're not a flame thrower it's pretty alarming I wonder whether former colleagues or current members of Congress whether the House or the Senate listening and you of course signed a letter with with forty four other four most Republicans and others about this issue and yet the Boston Globe has said where are you all where are you all where all the Republican senators or Congress people who who actually did what they had to do according to the rule of law during the Watergate era Where are you all apart from US speaking out like this well many of the Republican Senators with whom I served L. exactly as I do they are worried about where the country is heading I would ask everyone to go back and read Orwell's nineteen eighty-four and look what he was writing about a fictional sense and saying is that where we're headed where you have a Ministry of truth in which you can tell the biggest is and you repeat them over and over again until they're accepted as the truth so you have a situation where the words like a war really means peace or ignorance really means wisdom or slavery is equal to freedom and two plus two week was five when you that's pretty fictional but it's not too for removed when you can have the president of the United States I yeah I wrote this letter and it's a perfect letter and I would say perfectly corrupt in the sense that you're trying to dig up dirt through a country that has beholden to us for its security in order to get that security delivered to them but only if you give this information on Joe Biden and his family and so you keep repeating it's perfect it's perfect perfect and people soon we'll say yeah it is perfect so that's why it's important to have these public hearing so you can have a ambassador Bill Taylor about Yvonne show you can have a lieutenant colonel come forward and say here is what I heard this is why alarmed me and this is why every American and should be alarmed about this because this is not what we do this is not how we act we don't ask we don't ask Russia Russia if you're listening come on in so you can we're open for business that's not something that we can accept which should not accept into the extensive the American people feel it's okay then I think we're headed down they very dangerous past one that every American should be concerned about so let me ask you about the American people because clearly the idea of an impeachment is a very I soon traumatic one for the nation they've been through it once or twice before it's rabbit it's happened and it is traumatic and people I will also say as president trump's allies of said that it's simply an attempt to rob an elected leader of his position do you are you concerned given what we're seeing in polls right now that this could be even more divisive even more traumatic than than than the all of law being upheld well we had the same arguments he met made back during Watergate there were people in the street we had bomb threats at our hearings I had to get special protection for my family as well and the argument was this will tear the country apart and my argument at that point was no it won't tear the country apart there'll be a vice president who will take office of removing the head for head of state for actions that are antithetical to what we believe in will not result and tearing the country apart we'll we'll tear the country apart is if we watched the slow the unraveling of the rule of law in the name of the power of the president and when you confuse the office of the president with the Individual President and His undoing becomes our undoing I tried to make that very clear I believe it's still obtains The president is there a temporary occupant we have our allegiance to who is the office of the President and to the The constitution into the country and so I know the president trump was trying to get members of like Mr Komi the actress FBI? I want you to pledge loyalty to me yes there was no MR president. I don't pledge my loyalty to you I pledge my loyalty to the Constitution. that's something that has been going on now insisting upon loyalty to the person and it has to be loyalty to the office of the president why do you think then sorry to interrupt you but why think then so many Republicans are in fact not doing what you're saying in other words they are pledging their loyalty to him rather than do the pro the the"