America is in the middle of a "cold civil war" and as the public impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump move forward, "everything is going to be judged politically" in that context, according to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, who added, "we all need to take a step back."
"We have some overwhelming evidence that the president of the United States conspired with his lawyer to undermine the electoral process in this country through the intervention of a foreign power," Bernstein told CNN Tuesday. "It's a very grave charge and there are a lot of facts that support the charge."
But nobody knows where the charges will go, as much of it will have to do with how Americans process information that is being presented and how the Senate will look at the testimony, said Bernstein.
"The conventional wisdom is that he would be acquitted, the president, in the Senate," said Bernstein. "I think it's a time to put conventional wisdom aside. We don't know. Senators are very sensitive to the will of the people and if the people in this country turn on these facts and this president, I think the Senate might as well."
Meanwhile, it's a "shame" that some senators are "craven" and won't speak out publicly against Trump, said Bernstein, as they are privately disturbed.
"They understand the Constitution talks about only two specific high crimes, bribery and treason," he said. "This is bribery. And the facts show so far real evidence that the president tried to bribe the president of another foreign country to intervene in our election. That's a high crime."
Bernstein added that if the impeachment proceedings were held now in the Republican-controlled Senate, "sure, he would be acquitted."
"These senators also are looking at the president's mental state," said Bernstein. "There is concern among these senators about his temperament, his stability. It's no secret to any of us who talk to people in the Senate. And that dynamic, too, goes to the people of the United States."
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