The Slatest

Ex-GOP Lawmaker: Trump Is “Illegitimate President,” Should Be Impeached

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with business leaders in Tokyo on May 25, 2019.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with business leaders in Tokyo on May 25, 2019. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

A former Republican lawmaker who served for 17 years in the House of Representatives called Trump an “illegitimate president” and said he should be impeached. “I’m calling for impeachment now because the Mueller report is out, and in it [special counsel Robert Mueller] describes 10 obstructions of justice charges that he could not bring because of a Department of Justice rule and regulation that says you can’t indict a sitting president. That’s number one,” former Rep. Tom Coleman, who represented Missouri from 1976 to 1993 in the House, told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Coleman also said that Trump is an “illegitimate president” because he welcomed help and influence from the Russians in his campaign.” Coleman cited as an example the way his then campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared information with a “Russian intelligence asset” during a meeting in New York. “It’s wrong and it needs to be handled and looked at by the Congress because I believe it’s an impeachable offense,” he said.

Coleman had earlier argued the case for impeachment in an op-ed piece in the Kansas City Star. In the piece, Coleman argues that even though Mueller “did not find sufficient evidence that Trump or his campaign had violated a criminal statute” the way Trump welcomed help from a foreign power means that “the president’s election victory brought forth nothing less than an illegitimate presidency.” In the piece, Coleman notes that some Democrats are reluctant to discuss impeachment and that instinct is “understandable … but critical times require exceptional leadership.” For now, “the only viable option available is for the House of Representatives, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, to open its own investigation, hold public hearings and then determine if they should pursue removal of the president through impeachment.”

If impeachment isn’t pursued, “I believe the public would conclude Democrats are no better than the Republicans who have enabled Trump for the past two years, putting party above country,” Coleman wrote. “It could hand Trump a second term.”