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At UMaine Event, Cohen Says Trump Committed Impeachable Act

Robbie Feinberg
Maine Public
Former Defense Secretary William Cohen and former Secretary of State John Kerry, at a joint public lecture they gave Tuesday at the University of Maine.

At a public lecture Tuesday at the University of Maine, former Maine Senator William Cohen criticized President Trump's foreign policy strategy and said that the president's actions warrant articles of impeachment.Cohen, a Republican who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton years, criticized Trump's decision to withdraw troops from the Turkish border with Syria, and the president's refusal to follow the advice of diplomats and other officials.

"Then you're heading toward one-man rule," Cohen said. "I think that's something that I think is completely antithetical to who we are, and to the way we've conducted our relations over the past 70 years. And I think we have to restore that."

In the 1970s, while representing Maine's 2nd District in the U.S. House, Cohen voted to impeach President Richard Nixon.

Cohen said Trump's phone call asking Ukraine to dig up information on a political opponent was a clear "quid pro quo" that violated the law and warrants articles of impeachment.

"That to me is not only 'quid pro quo' in a very classic sense," he said, "it's 'res ipsa loquitur' - that's 'the thing speaks for itself.' It speaks for itself in the document that was released."

Cohen spoke Tuesday at the University of Maine in a joint lecture with former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Originally published Nov. 5, 2019 at 5:20 p.m. ET.

Correction: a previous version of this story referred to Cohen as a former Congressman, rather than a former Senator. We regret the error.