steve cohen

Cohen proposes impeachment of Trump over Charlottesville comments

News release from Rep. Steve Cohen

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today announced that he will be introducing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump following the President’s comments on the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Cohen wins battle in crusade against shrinking airplane seat space

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen failed last year in an attempt to pass legislation blocking airlines from shrinking the seating space on commercial flights, but this week won approval from a House committee of the proposal as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, reports the Memphis Business Journal.

“Oftentimes in Congress, like in life, things don’t always happen the first time,” Congressman Cohen said.

Cohen’s press release on the committee vote is HERE

Cohen, Cooper sign onto lawsuit attacking Trump’s foreign business dealings

Tennessee’s two Democratic congressmen, Reps. Steve Cohen of Memphis and Jim Cooper of Nashville, are among about 200 members of Congress signing on as plaintiffs in a federal court lawsuit that contends President Donald Trump’s foreign business dealings may violate a provision of the Constitution.

Quote from a Cooper press release:

“The Constitution says our president should be free from all foreign influence,” Rep. Cooper said. “Since President Trump shows no sign of changing, Congress must ask the courts to enforce the Constitution he has sworn to uphold.”

Quote from a Cohen press release:

“The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause is a vital protection against foreign governments’ corrupting influence.” said Congressman Cohen. “The American people should have total confidence that the President is serving their interest, not his own financial enrichment.  President Trump’s refusal to disclose information to Congress or seek Congress’s authorization for accepting profits from foreign governments stemming from his sprawling foreign financial interests is a brazen violation of the Constitution and a danger to our democracy.”

The full Cohen press release is HERE; the full Cooper press release HERE.

Cohen seeks investigation into whether funds raised for St. Jude were diverted to Trump charities

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has asked U.S.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate whether some of the money the Eric Trump Foundation’s charity golf tournament raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital went instead to other charities favored by President Donald Trump, reports Michael Collins.

“The report suggests that donors may have been misled, the event may have been used as a pass through to convert charitable donations to the Donald J. Trump Foundation into revenue for Donald Trump’s private businesses, and the event may have been used as a vehicle to profit Donald Trump’s private businesses,” Cohen said. “I urge you to investigate to determine whether federal laws have been violated.” (Text of Cohen’s letter is HERE.)

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Trump budget ax would slash lots of fed spendng in TN

Dozens of programs that provide funding or services in Tennessee are targeted for elimination or drastic cuts under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, reports Michael Collins.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Delta Regional Authority all would be impacted by Trump’s spending plan, released early Thursday and dubbed “America’s First” budget by the White House.

Other programs that reach into the state yet would get no funding under Trump’s budget include Community Development Block Grants, which provide resources to cities for a variety of activities such as affordable housing and anti-poverty initiatives; the Meals on Wheels food-delivery program for the elderly; the Minority Business Development Agency, which works to help minority-owned businesses grow and stay competitive; and heating assistance for low-income residents.

“The list of important programs cut or eliminated is huge,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis. “President Trump’s budget will thrust America into social and cultural deterioration, a new Dark Ages.”

 

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Cohen named to House Ethics Committee

News release U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today was appointed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and approved by the House Democratic Caucus to serve on the House Committee on Ethics. In 2008, then-Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi referred to Congressman Cohen as the “conscience of the freshman class.”

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Cohen joins 19 Democratic congressmen boycotting Trump inauguration

Rep. Steve Cohen says he will boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Friday in a show of solidarity with fellow Democratic Congressman John Lewis, a veteran civil rights leader, reports the Commercial Appeal.

At the Be the Dream celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Cohen derided Trump for numerous personal attacks on well-known figures from actress Meryl Streep — “a saint in many people’s eyes” — to Lewis. Lewis recently said Trump was not a “legitimate president,” prompting Trump to Tweet, among other things, that Lewis was “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”

Lewis, who was beaten by police as he marched for equality in Alabama, is boycotting the inauguration, along with a growing number of Democrats. Cohen, who previously expressed hopes of working with Trump’s administration, said the remarks about Lewis “crossed the Rubicon” and that Trump “does not deserve” to be president.

“The dream is turning into a nightmare,” Cohen said, alluding to King’s famed “I have a dream” speech.

Politico reported that, as of Sunday, 19 Democrats (not including Cohen with his Monday announcement) had announced they would boycott the inauguration. An excerpt:

In addition to (California Rep. Barbara) Lee and Lewis, Democratic Reps. John Conyers of Michigan, Marc Pocan of Wisconsin, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, José Serrano, Nydia Velazquez, Adriano Espaillat and Jerrold Nadler of New York, Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Lacy Clay of Missouri, and Mark Takano, Mark DeSaulnier, Jared Huffman, Ted Lieu and Judy Chu of California have all said they’ll skip the ceremony because they can’t stomach Trump.

However, House Democratic leaders say they will be in attendance at the inauguration, if mostly to support the office, not the man.

And similar to the attempt to derail Trump’s victory in the Electoral College, no Senate Democrats have joined into the inauguration boycott, at least not yet.

“That’s my responsibility,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on NPR Friday. “It is the wonderful thing about our country, the peaceful transfer of power.”

 

Obama’s clemency to 36 Tennesseans: Excessive says Duncan; not enough says Cohen

Three dozen convicted felons in Tennessee have been given a second chance in recent years through commutations and pardons by President Barack Obama. Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen hopes he’ll do more before leaving office on Friday. Republican Congressman John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. of Knoxville says the number already granted seems “excessive.”

So reports Michael Collins. Excerpts:

“There are still so many more people in prison for non-violent offenses like marijuana convictions and due to the crack-cocaine disparity – injustices that deserve clemency,” the Memphis Democrat (Cohen) said. “I’ve been disappointed for several of my constituents who I’ve been advocating for on behalf of their relatives who haven’t received clemency.”

Obama has been much more generous than his predecessors when it comes to using his executive powers to dole out forgiveness…. Obama has commuted the sentences of more inmates than all previous presidents combined. The commutations are part of an effort by the Justice Department to rectify what it sees as overly punitive sentences from the war on drugs.

So far, 36 Tennesseans have seen their sentences reduced by the president, ranking the Volunteer State 11th in the nation in terms of commutations. The state that received the most is Florida, where Obama has reduced the sentences of 190 felons since 2011. Next is Texas, with 123.

… Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., who was a state court judge in Knox County for seven years before he was elected to Congress, agrees that sentencing reform is needed. But he thinks Obama has gone overboard in handing out commutations, most of which have come over the past two years.

…Judges should have some latitude, for example, when sentencing someone who got mixed up in the wrong crowd when they were young and had just limited drug use, Duncan said.

“To put them in the same category with big-time drug dealers is wrong,” he said. But, “I doubt if I had been president I would have done 1,100 commutations in the last two years. That sounds excessive to me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cohen: Fidel Castro and Donald Trump have similar ‘personality traits’

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis got considerable media attention Tuesday by saying during a CNN interview that President-elect Donald Trump and former Cuban president Fidel Castro have similar “personality traits” and ties to Russia.

As quoted by USA Today Network’s Michael Collins:

 “The last two people I remember in this Western Hemisphere who were so close to Russia were (businessman) Armand Hammer, who loved oil and money, and Fidel Castro, who loved to talk for long periods of time, hated disloyalty and dissent and eliminated it, and was very much an egocentric individual,” Cohen said on CNN.

Asked if he was comparing Trump to Castro, Cohen replied, “personality traits, indeed.”

“Castro needed to be the center of attention at all times,” said Cohen, a Memphis Democrat. “He executed certain of his comrades for trumped-up charges because he wanted total control and he wanted to put that fear into people. He was very close to his family, and he had a multitudinous family. Didn’t trust others. And it was all about him and public speaking.

“With the exception of the fact that he was dedicated to a philosophy and to his country, making an allegiance with Russia, there are a lot of personality traits that are similar.”

Note: The CNN video of Cohen’s interview is HERE. Brietbart News has longer bloc quotes HERE.

Cohen announces 2018, 2020 reelection bids

Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen has announced that he will not only seek reelection in 2018, but in 2020 as well, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Cohen, 67, revealed his plans at former Memphis City Council member Myron Lowery’s New Year’s Eve prayer breakfast.

Cohen won his sixth consecutive race to represent the solidly Democratic 9th Congressional District last November, He rolled up 86 percent of the vote over three challengers in the August party primary.

Cohen said since his re-election he’d been hearing persistent rumors that he didn’t plan to run again.

“I decided to announce for re-election in 2018 and 2020,” Cohen said. “I thought it was a good time to squelch those rumors. My opponents don’t think they can beat me anymore, so they just want to will me away.”

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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