A contributing editor for The Nation says that Democrats and Republican critics of the president are letting their dislike of President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE cloud their judgement on relations with Russia.
Stephen Cohen, who is also a professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, accused Trump's critics, particularly Democrats, of preferring the possibility of impeaching the president to avoiding war.
"I put it like this: The people that are doing this would prefer to impeach Trump over avoiding war with Russia," he told host John Catsimatidis on New York's AM 970 in an interview airing Sunday. "And [Trump's critics] have become our No. 1 national security threat. They themselves, these 'Russia-gate' people."
Cohen argued that "both sides" of the political spectrum have "amnesia" about Russia and the history of U.S. relations with the country.
"Well both sides need a little history, they seem to have amnesia," Cohen said. "Since [former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt], every American president without exception has met with the Kremlin leader. More than once sometimes."
"And by the way, for the record, every major detente, that is, improvement in relations with Russia, has been led by a Republican president," he said. "So he is squarely within that tradition."
Cohen went on to say that Trump had "no choice" but to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and seek softened relations between the two countries, citing Russia's nuclear arsenal as a key reason.
"So in my judgement, because the relationship with Russia is so dangerous today, more dangerous than any time in my lifetime ... Trump had no choice. It was the duty of the American president to go meet with Putin, and try and walk back some of these conflicts."
Trump faced heavy criticism from Democrats and Republicans following his joint press conference with the Russian leader, during which Trump appeared to side with Russia against the United States's intelligence agencies on assertions of election interference. He later walked the remarks back.
“I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump said in a prepared statement in front of reporters at the White House on Tuesday, a day after the summit.
He added, however: “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”
Cohen previously criticized media coverage of the joint press conference, calling it "mob violence."