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Ex-GOP senator suggests forming new party, calls Trump 'ringmaster' of Republicans

William Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine and Defense secretary under former President Clinton, blasted GOP lawmakers challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election in a Thursday interview in which he suggested the formation of a new political party. 

Cohen made the comments on CNN's "The Situation Room" while discussing Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyBiden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Cruz raises .3 million in first quarter of 2021 Exclusive: GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee MORE's (R-Mo.) plans to object during Congress's counting of the Electoral College vote on Wednesday. Cohen called Hawley's actions "shameful" but warned that Republicans are just following President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE's lead, calling him the party's "ringmaster."

"We have to remember that the current occupant of the White House is a ringmaster and what he expects to do is snap his whip and all the elephants hop up on chairs," Cohen said. "What they have to understand is he is going to continue to snap the whip whether he's in office or out of office. And every time they're going to have to jump up and sit on that stool to satisfy him and his supporters."

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"He is always going to up the ante, he cannot be satisfied. There's nothing in him. There's no moral core, and so they are going to be extorted or bribed in order to avoid a primary in 2022 or 2024," Cohen continued.

Discussing the future of the Republican Party, Cohen noted a clear divide among GOP lawmakers, saying more centrist Republicans such as Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFamily policy that could appeal to the right and the left Press: Corporate America defies the GOP Romney on NRSC awarding Trump: Not 'my preference' MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Democrats work to pick up GOP support on anti-Asian hate crimes bill Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan MORE (Maine) are very different from Trump allies. He asked: Where are the lawmakers "standing up for the rule of law?"

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"For Trump it is pathological, for those who are jumping up to support him, it's diabolical and I don't think it's diabolically clever. I think they will find they will be hostage for the rest of their time in the Senate and going forward if they are only there to appease the Trumpsters," he said.

"Maybe it's time for a new party. One that abides by the rule of law," Cohen concluded. "But also faithful to the people of this country, who vote to elect them."

Cohen's New Year's Eve comments come just days before Congress's counting of the Electoral College vote. Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Boehner finally calls it as he sees it The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Ill.) said Wednesday he thinks as many as 100 Republicans could challenge the results.

The move is considered a long-shot bid to overturn the election, but more Republican lawmakers have come out in support of the effort.