Jeff Flake urges GOP to ‘move away from Trump-ism’

The former Arizona senator on whether he thinks pardoning President Donald Trump is the right move and how Republicans can move forward after his presidency.
4:54 | 01/15/21

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Transcript for Jeff Flake urges GOP to ‘move away from Trump-ism’
So last week you had concerns about impeaching trump again because you worried he would treat it like a badge of honor, quote/unquote, and you were doubtful that the senate would convict him. What do you think now? Are you calling on your former colleagues to convict trump, and will it happen? Will they listen to you also? I've expressed concern all along that the house would impeach again, but the senate would fail to convict, and that is not a good message. I think that might say in the end what a president can get away with, rather than what he can't get away with. So I do hope the senate does convict. I do believe that the president has committed impeachable offenses. So certainly, yes. If I were in the house, I would have voted to impeach, and if I were in the senate still, then I will encourage my colleagues to convict. I wish that you hadn't quit so we could have had you there. I don't know if you were listening to the last segment, but director Comey thinks that Biden should consider pardoning trump so that we can move on, and then he can be prosecuted in the New York -- I guess in new York state, and then he'll go to prison or whatever happens to him. He just wants him to be pardoned though. Do you agree with that? I share the concerns that he has that the national spotlight will be on Donald Trump, in a way, frankly, that he might like. So I don't think obviously that we ought to lessen the accountability that's required the southern district of new York will go forward with its criminal investigations, and I -- I'm not sure I'm where Jim Comey is, but he has concerns as well either way. I, you know, we don't want Donald Trump to be in the spotlight for the next two years while the next president is trying to lead the country and unify the country. So I do understand that, but I also believe that there has to be accountability. Senator, you have been outspoken against the president and his rhetoric for some time now, and it played a big role in your decision not to run for re-election in 2018. Did you anticipate it would lead to something like this with a mob descending on your former colleagues? Nobody could have foreseen what happened at the capitol last week, but I have to say all along I knew that a president's words matter, and they matter a lot, and what the president was saying about the press for example, calling them the enemy of the people was already having an impact internationally with more journalists being detained and -- I mean, when he stood next to detarte of the Philippines while he referred to the press as spies and he laughed along with it, and the words of a president matter, and though I don't think any of us could have foreseen what happened last week, we knew something bad would happen, and it was happening particularly internationally with journalists. Senator flake, it's so nice to see you again. We are old friends, and -- Yes, we are. I am looking for some guidance right now. Some Republicans appear to be angrier with Liz Cheney than they are with Donald Trump. This is very confusing. What does all of this mean for the future of the Republican party? How do we go forward when 74 million voters supported trump in 2020, and 70% of gop-leaning independents want him to run again in 2024? It's tough to find any silver lining in what happened last week, but if there is anything good that can come of it, is that it might hasten the March of the Republican party away from trump and away from trumpism. I'm in good company in Arizona being censured along with your mother. Your dad was before as well, and now Doug Ducey, but the party has to move away from from trumpism. There is no future there. It's a demographic cul-de-sac, and I think most of my colleagues know it, but they have been fearful about the next primary. I'm hopeful that after what happened last week and after the accumulations of this president , then they'll say as Liz Cheney has, we have to move on. She is being pressured to resign. The only woman in leadership -- the only one in leadership willing to stand up to this president. Boy, we can't go that direction if we want to be a relevant party in the future. The most important thing you just said is that it's a demographic cul-de-sac. That makes me feel very hopeful.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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