Rep. Steve Cohen (D., Tenn.) on Monday called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, accusing him of "raping the country."
Cohen stood up and yelled for Trump to be impeached during a Democratic Steering and Policy Committee meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), prompting Pelosi to push back saying, "This is not about politics, it's about what's best for the American people," according to Politico.
Cohen, who voted to move impeachment proceedings forward in December 2017, also brought up former President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings during the committee hearing, saying he faced impeachment "over sex." He went on to contrast Clinton and Trump by accusing the latter of "raping the country," a quote that was confirmed by Cohen after the meeting.
Pelosi again pushed back against Cohen's assertion that she was afraid impeachment would cost the Democrats a majority in the House.
"This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through," Pelosi said, according to aides in the room who spoke to Politico.
Pelosi faced other backlash from Democrats, including Reps. David Cicilline (R.I.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), and Joe Neguse (Colo.), during a private Democratic leadership meeting, Politico reported.
Raskin — a former law professor — said he wasn't advocating impeaching Trump but suggested that opening an impeachment inquiry would strengthen their legal position while allowing Democrats to move forward with their legislative agenda.
Pelosi dismissed this argument, asking Raskin whether he wanted to shut down the other five committees working on Trump investigations in favor of the Judiciary Committee.
"You want to tell Elijah Cummings to go home?" Pelosi quipped, referring to the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee.
Cicilline said earlier Monday he supports an impeachment inquiry if former White House Counsel Don McGahn doesn't show up on Tuesday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. McGahn's lawyers later indicated he would not be showing up, defying the committee's subpoena, according to CNN.
"As with the subpoena for documents, Mr. McGahn again finds himself facing contradictory instructions from two co-equal branches of government," McGahn's attorney William A. Burck said in a letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Comittee. "Under these circumstances, and also conscious of the duties he, as an attorney, owes to his former client, Mr. McGahn must decline to appear at the hearing tomorrow."
"I think if this pattern by the president continues, where he's going to impede and prevent and undermine our ability to gather evidence to do our job, we're going to be left with no choice," Cicilline said.
"It's a means where we can collect that information … We need to have the ability to gather the evidence," Cicilline added.
Cohen has a history of controversial statements or comparisons when discussing Trump or his policies. In addition to accusing Trump of "torching the entire structure of government" like the Notre Dame Cathedral in France, he has compared Trump to the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and he described Trump as a "cancer" on the United States.
Cohen also got in hot water when he joked then-Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) should jump off a bridge while she was running for U.S. Senate.