William Cohen, former defense secretary, says 'we are standing on the abyss of the destruction of our democracy' - CNNPolitics

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  gsquared  •  2 weeks ago  •  32 comments

By:   Rachel Janfaza (CNN)

William Cohen, former defense secretary, says 'we are standing on the abyss of the destruction of our democracy' - CNNPolitics
The US is "standing on the abyss of the destruction of our democracy," former Defense Secretary William Cohen said Monday night, as President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress try to overturn the results of a free and fair election.

William Cohen is moderate, thoughtful and not prone to exaggeration.  And, he is correct.  Trump is "engaging in an overt act of criminal misconduct."


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Washington (CNN)The US is "standing on the abyss of the destruction of our democracy," former Defense Secretary William Cohen said Monday night, as President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress try to overturn the results of a free and fair election.

Referring to Trump's repeated and baseless claims of fraud and efforts to pressure election officials, Cohen, a Republican who served under President Bill Clinton, told CNN's Don Lemon that the rule of law must be followed and that Trump's conduct is actively hurting the country. 

"This bodes not well for the United States, because we're standing on the abyss of the destruction of our democracy. And so we have to come back to the key principles. You have to have truth in every facet of our lives. And when you don't, you will not have the trust of the people," Cohen said on "CNN Tonight."

Trump has repeatedly aired false claims in the wake of his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden two months ago, but in recent weeks he has escalated his attempts to overturn the results. Over the weekend, Trump unsuccessfully pressured Georgia's secretary of state to "find" votes and he has suggested that Vice President Mike Pence, in his ceremonial role overseeing Congress' certification of the Electoral College vote, should reject the will of the voters.

"We are seeing the persistence of his corruption. This is not something new. This is how he has operated during most of his lifetime," Cohen said, referring to Trump's call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. He called the conduct "not surprising, as stunning as it may be," and said the President was "engaging in an overt act of criminal misconduct."  

Cohen was among the 10 living former secretaries of defense who wrote a letter published in The Washington Post over the weekend that emphasized that the presidential election has come and gone and that the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power must follow.

"Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived," wrote the former defense secretaries.

Cohen on Monday told Lemon that while the letter from the Defense secretaries was written and published prior to the release of Trump's call, "that tape recording only confirms what we have been seeing for the past four years," Cohen said.

"We talk about the rule of law and people have to understand: if there is no rule of law, if people are allowed to abuse it and misuse it, then all of us are in danger," Cohen added.


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Gsquared
1  seeder  Gsquared    2 weeks ago

William Cohen is a good man.  He calls it like he sees it, and what he sees in Trump is criminality.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
2  Thrawn 31    2 weeks ago

He isn't wrong. Trump is going after the basic principle that we can trust our election results, without that our democratic government will cease to function, and then cease to be. I have been saying since his election that our system of government's days are being numbered due to his actions and the enabling of the GOP. All it will take is someone who is even semi-competent, partially rational, and with an IQ above 15 to follow up and that is all she wrote. The ground work has been laid, our government's vulnerabilities exposed, and our current legislative politicians are either too spineless or complicit to do anything about it. 

FFS, the GOP's "platform" this cycle was "whatever Trump says." Our country is so fucked lol. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

Having witnessed 5 years of Trumps constant lies, traitorous behavior, impeachable offenses, obstruction of justice, and crazed narcissism, and an average of 40 tweets a day in 2020 (most of them false), 75 million Americans still voted for a continuation of all this on Nov 3. 

The country is in a lot of trouble, and the mere fact that Trump will not be in the Oval Office anymore is not going to change that. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
3.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 weeks ago

Nope, we have exactly the government we deserve. And once we have our own Putin we can collectively look into the mirror and know that we did it to ourselves. 

 
 
 
devangelical
4  devangelical    2 weeks ago

I'm not worried. there's always an american somewhere in the white house that takes his oath to defend the constitution seriously, despite any personal cost.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
5  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

"Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived,"

And yet the Dems tried for four years to overturn the 2016 election..

Nope, we have exactly the government we deserve. And once we have our own Putin we can collectively look into the mirror and know that we did it to ourselves. 

Yep...can't argue with that assessment

 

 
 
 
Gsquared
5.1  seeder  Gsquared  replied to  Greg Jones @5    2 weeks ago
And yet the Democrats tried for four years to overturn the 2016 election.

That is a false equivalency. 

The Democrats acted within constitutional means to impeach a corrupt President. 

Trump is employing corruption and criminality to attempt to illegally extend his regime in violation of the Constitution.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Gsquared @5.1    2 weeks ago

And he doesn't even realize that what he's doing is illegal

 
 
 
Gsquared
5.1.2  seeder  Gsquared  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

I think Trump knows full-well that his conduct is illegal.  As Cohen pointed out:  "This is not something new.  This is how he has operated during most of his lifetime."

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Gsquared @5.1.2    2 weeks ago

He acts like he is an Emperor

 
 
 
Tessylo
5.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

He knows, he doesn't care.

 
 
 
Ronin2
5.2  Ronin2  replied to  Greg Jones @5    2 weeks ago

Democrats seem to forget their actions over the last four years. From calls having the Electoral College to change their votes to Hillary; calls for doing away with the Electoral College in favor of a straight popular vote; calls for impeaching Trump before he even took office; to repeated attempts to impeach Trump on scant evidence- while ignoring FBI and DOJ procedures.

But Trruuummmmppppp!!!!!

We are getting exactly what we deserve from both of our Establishment parties.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
5.2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @5.2    2 weeks ago

Nothing done or said by the Democrats previously compares to this. This is the same bs the right pulls every time "The Democrats did it first".   Bullshit.  Trump has been whining and ranting EVERY SINGLE fucking day since the election that it was stolen from him. Not a handful of senators and congressmen, the candidate himself. He has sued over 60 times to overturn state election results. Right wing media goes on and on and on ad nauseum about it constantly. This did not happen in 2016. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
5.2.2  Tessylo  replied to  Ronin2 @5.2    2 weeks ago

Proof?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
5.2.3  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.1    2 weeks ago
thing done or said by the Democrats previously compares to this. T

They did this in 2001, 2005 and 2017.  Every time Republicans win the Presidency, elected Democrats in Congress challenge the certification of votes.

The only difference is this adult party is doing it this year. 

I do agree it's dumb for the Republicans to do this. They shouldn't stoop to the Democrats level and it doesn't bode well if both parties act like the Democrats historically have. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.2.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  Sean Treacy @5.2.3    2 weeks ago
The only difference is this adult party is doing it this year.

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

Not with your guy in charge....

 
 
 
Split Personality
5.2.5  Split Personality  replied to  JohnRussell @5.2.1    2 weeks ago

Trump whined and ranted every day during the 2016 election that the fix was in for HRC. 

That she would win and he would not accept it.

Nothing has changed.

 
 
 
Texan1211
5.2.6  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @5.2.3    2 weeks ago
They did this in 2001, 2005 and 2017.  Every time Republicans win the Presidency, elected Democrats in Congress challenge the certification of votes.

Yeah, but the press barely mentioned it, and Republicans didn't act like they lost their minds over it.

 
 
 
Ender
5.2.7  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.2.4    2 weeks ago

Hahaha

Oh Lord...

 
 
 
Tessylo
5.2.8  Tessylo  replied to  Split Personality @5.2.5    2 weeks ago

Nope, nothing has changed -  [removed]   still a whiny little bitch and now a whiny little bitch loser. . . by more than 7 million votes. . . 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
5.2.9  r.t..b...  replied to  Texan1211 @5.2.6    2 weeks ago

Point taken.
There is a massive difference, however, between making a knowingly symbolic gesture and an unflinchingly deleterious effort to undermine the very basis of our constitutionally mandated order of succession. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
5.2.10  Texan1211  replied to  r.t..b... @5.2.9    2 weeks ago

Sounds more like you don't think it was serious when Democrats did exactly what Republicans are now doing.

Look, I know the results of the election won't change, nor do I want them to.

But it is inconsistent to excuse the actions of one party while chastising the other party for doing the same thing.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
5.2.11  r.t..b...  replied to  Texan1211 @5.2.10    2 weeks ago

And just when has the behavior of a losing candidate caused jurisdictions to call out the National Guard to protect citizens and property given the invective from said loser?

 
 
 
Texan1211
5.2.12  Texan1211  replied to  r.t..b... @5.2.11    2 weeks ago
And just when has the behavior of a losing candidate caused jurisdictions to call out the National Guard to protect citizens and property given the invective from said loser?

Well, that is a different subject!

I thought we were talking about the GOP efforts to not certify the election legally, just as some Democrats attempted at least 3 times previously.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
5.2.14  Sean Treacy  replied to  Texan1211 @5.2.6    2 weeks ago
but the press barely mentioned it, and Republicans didn't act like they lost their minds over it.

For sure.  doing what Democrats have done the last three times they lost has suddenly  become an existential threat to the Republic once the Republicans follow their precedent. 

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
5.3  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Greg Jones @5    2 weeks ago
And yet the Dems tried for four years to overturn the 2016 election..

Not true. If Trumps impeachment had led to Trump being removed from office Mike Pence would have become President, not Hillary. Democrats rightly pointed out for four years that Trump was and is an inept criminal wannabe mob boss unfit to be President which is 100% true. He was impeached for trying to extort a foreign government into manufacturing dirt on a political opponent, the tape and testimony prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. The Mueller report spells out at least 10 counts of obstruction of justice, he is a coconspirator in a felony campaign finance case whose coconspirator has already served time, the only reason Trump is not in jail right now is because of a justice department policy of not indicting a sitting President and leaving his removal up to the congress and Senate and the spineless Republican Senate only refused to do their job of removing him because of political pressure from their rabid Trump fan constituents.

So no, Democrats have not been trying to "overturn the 2016 election", they have been trying to protect our precious constitutional Republic from a vile despot who seems determined to set himself up as King much like his murderous friend and ally Putin has done in a country that is now a democracy in name only.

 
 
 
Gsquared
7  seeder  Gsquared    2 weeks ago

Trump just tweeted:  "The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors."

No, he does not. 

An effort by Pence to do anything other than announce the certified Electoral College votes would be unconstitutional and illegal. 

If Pence announces that Trump was re-elected, that would be a coup.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
7.1  r.t..b...  replied to  Gsquared @7    2 weeks ago

Again, and with emphasis added “no he does not”.

 
 
 
devangelical
7.2  devangelical  replied to  Gsquared @7    2 weeks ago

yeah, but guess who his idiotic base will blame. ha ha ha

 
 
 
Tacos!
8  Tacos!    2 weeks ago

This is the state of journalism on TV, I guess. Lemon asks a question - one question - that never really gets answered and it's really just an invitation to let this guy go on a three minute prepared rant.

To make things worse, these hosts just allow a guest to engage in irrational fear-mongering like "We Are Standing On The Abyss Of The Destruction Of Our Democracy" with zero push back.

Our democracy is doing just fine and will be just fine.

All of this reminds me of where we were a year ago, when everyone in Washington and on TV was focused on impeachment instead of the coming pandemic. It's still going on, but the pandemic is worse than it has ever been, and it's well known so there is no excuse for it. 

 
 
 
Gsquared
9  seeder  Gsquared    2 weeks ago
this guy

William Cohen, "this guy", was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979, a Republican member the United States Senate from 1979 to 1997 and the Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001.  He is sober, thoughtful, reasonable and responsible.  He has tremendous gravitas and unimpeachable credibilty.

Whether or not our democracy is doing "just fine and will be just fine" remains an open question.

 
 
 
Tacos!
9.1  Tacos!  replied to  Gsquared @9    2 weeks ago
Whether or not our democracy is doing "just fine and will be just fine" remains an open question.

Is it though? The doomsayers have been at it for four years and their dire predictions have failed to materialize. We still have elections, and if you count the 2018 election when Democrats picked up some seats, I'd say Trump has already lost two of them. He hasn't been able to undo it, either. Why? Because Democracy still works and so does the rule of law.

Trump's reaction has been a lot of noisemaking, whining, complaining, accusations, and law suits. You might think all of that has been pretty ridiculous (and I would probably agree) but all of it is within the constraints of the law. Trump did not roll out the military to prevent or overturn any election, but if you listen to this drama masquerading as journalism, you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

Throughout his administration, people have challenged his actions in court. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses. Like many politicians, he bitches about the result. Obama and other Democrats had no problem bitching and moaning about Citizens United, and they have even threatened to pack the Court to overturn it. Hillary Clinton has spent almost the full four years claiming that one conspiracy after another stole the presidency from her. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams and her supporters are still trying to convince people that an election was stolen from her, and that was two years ago.

But none of that prompted anyone to go on CNN and claim that our democracy was on the abyss of destruction. Nothing is gained by promoting such hysteria.

 
 
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