Coons on CNN: “If we were to get drawn into a war with Iran, the consequences for our global position would be, I think, tragic.”
Sen. Chris Coons , a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined CNN New Day and Alisyn Camerota this morning to discuss Rep. Justin Amash’s comments about the Mueller report and the President’s latest statements regarding Iran.
On Amash: “I was surprised to see a Republican congressman saying publicly what I think many are thinking privately.”
“I think it is critical that we play our hand here thoroughly, cautiously, carefully and recognizing we face an enormous challenge from China and a real and sustained challenge from Russia. If we were to get drawn into a war with Iran, the consequences for our global position would be, I think, tragic,” said Coons.
Coons on Rep. Amash’s statements over the weekend:
“I was surprised to see a Republican congressman saying publicly what I think many are thinking privately which is those who have read the Mueller report cannot avoid the conclusion that the President and some of his absolutely core advisers engaged in profoundly disappointing, reprehensible conduct -- conduct that would rise to the level of an obstruction of justice charge if he were anyone other than the President of the United States.”
On what Republicans think privately about the President’s actions:
“I have not spoken to a single Republican senator who would vote to remove the President. Many privately expressed concerns about what was revealed in the Mueller report in part because of the gap between what Attorney General Barr characterized as being in the Mueller report and what was actually in the Mueller report for those who have taken the time to read through it.”
On whether President Trump should be impeached:
“There is a conclusion I’ve reached which is that impeachment is a political process, and that frankly the likelihood that the known jury – in this case, the Senate of the United States – would actually remove the President is close to zero. If the Mueller report had produced a bombshell I think there was a chance that the Republican-majority Senate might have removed the President. In the absence of that we have a simple choice to make, which is do we spend the next year and a half trying to legislate and putting forward proposals that would actually solve middle Americans’ daily problems or do we spend the next year and a half fighting with each other over a political process that will not produce removal?”
On whether he has been briefed on Iran by the Trump Administration:
“I was able to see some printed materials late last week about Iran’s aggressive behavior in the region. I will tell you I frankly learned nothing from that material that I didn’t learn from the news. There is going to be a classified briefing later today on Afghanistan and an all senators briefing, I believe tomorrow, on Iran. We still have not heard any strategy from this Administration. The President bluffs about going after Iran. Taking on Iran militarily is a very challenging prospect. We need to have a serious conversation about the costs, the risks, and the plan. So far there is no plan that I have seen or heard of.”
On how tensions have escalated with Iran:
“Exactly why it’s so important for the Administration to come forward and brief a broad group of senators who are able to question them is to force them to focus their strategy, to make key decisions. I think it is an open question whether or not the provocation is going one way or the other. This is a very small space and a real tinder box. The Strait of Hormuz and the area between Saudi Arabia, Iran – there are so many other players in this region. The war in Yemen has been so destructive and is essentially a proxy war between Iran and the Saudis already. We are already enmeshed in the conflict in Syria. I think it is critical that we play our hand here thoroughly, cautiously, carefully and recognizing that we face an enormous challenge from China and a real and sustained challenge from Russia. If we were to get drawn into a war with Iran, the consequences for our global position would be, I think, tragic.”