Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a self-described moderate Republican, is warning the GOP to “get a grip on itself” and stand up to President Donald Trump rather than worrying about the political ramifications.
“Right now, Republican leaders and members of the Congress ― both Senate and the House ― are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out,” Powell told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria during an interview at Ohio’s New Albany Community Foundation last week that aired Sunday. “Will they lose a primary?”
As Democrats escalate their impeachment inquiry into Trump’s alleged solicitation of foreign interference in the 2020 election, Powell urged Republicans to place the nation’s best interest ahead of party politics.
“When they see things that are not right, they need to say something about it because our foreign policy is in shambles right now, in my humble judgment, and I see things happening that are hard to understand,” he said.
On Friday, Trump conceded that House Democrats “have the votes” to move forward with impeachment, though he remains confident Senate Republicans would hold firm in their support for him.
“They’re all in line,” the president said of Democrats. “Because even though many of them don’t want to vote, they have no choice. They have to follow their leadership. And then we’ll get it to the Senate, and we’re going to win.”
At the center of the House’s inquiry is an August whistleblower complaint released last month in which a still-anonymous member of the intelligence community flagged a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
A summary of the July call revealed that Trump repeatedly pressed Zelensky to aid lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr with a corruption probe of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The request was based on unfounded allegations, and there remains no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, though Trump has attempted to create suspicion of his political rival ahead of the election.
On Sunday, Andrew Bakaj, the whistleblower’s attorney, confirmed in a tweet that his firm and legal team are now representing multiple whistleblowers connected to the report.