Former GOP congressman calls on Republicans to break silence on Trump impeachment
President Donald Trump. (AFP/File / Brendan Smialowski)

On Wednesday, William Cohen, a former Republican congressman who served on the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 during the Watergate impeachment inquiry, wrote in the Washington Post that Republicans need to break their silence on President Donald Trump.

Robert Mueller spoke publicly for the first time in two years on Wednesday, and denied a request to testify before Congress. However, his remarks left the door wide open for Democrats to pursue impeachment investigations against the president.

"Republicans have taken the position that Mueller's redacted report has resolved all issues of alleged presidential collusion with the Russians and obstruction of justice. Case closed," Cohen wrote.

Adding, "This is not a tenable position. The Mueller report has raised nearly as many questions as it has answered. But more important, as someone who legislatively helped craft the original Office of Special Counsel, I can attest that Congress never intended to subcontract out its investigative powers to the executive branch."

He then said that is unacceptable and striking that the GOP refuses to stand up to Trump.

"The silence of Republicans today in the face of presidential behavior that is unacceptable by any reasonable standard is both striking and deeply disappointing," Cohen wrote.

He went onto explain that Republicans talk honestly about Trump in private more than they do in public.

"When one talks privately to some Republican members about a president who lurches from tweet to taunt; who, according to those who have worked closely beside him, is incapable of telling the truth even in mundane situations; who accepts the word of Vladimir Putin and rejects the unanimous judgment of our intelligence community that Russia launched a cyberattack at the very heart of our democracy; and whose toxic combination of egotism and insecurity distorts the basic process of governing, they express their disdain and even alarm at how he conducts the nation's affairs," he said.

Cohen added, "Yet, the same members are reluctant to speak out publicly even in the face of behavior they would find intolerable by any previous occupant of the Oval Office."

He then explained that impeachment could be the next step.

"As an English lord chancellor once wrote, 'The power of impeachment ought to be, like Goliath's sword, kept in the temple, and not used but on great occasions.'" he said.

"If Congress cannot secure the cooperation of executive branch officials in the exercise of its oversight responsibilities, it will have no choice but to enter the temple and remove the fabled sword," he said.

Read the full column here.