Robert Reich: Urgently Wanted, 22 Patriotic Republicans

05_16_Trump_GOP_01
Lawmakers walk out of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2017. Robert Reich writes that the question now is whether there exist 22 House Republicans whose loyalty to the United States exceeds their loyalty to the Republican Party, who would join with House Democrats in seeking a bill of impeachment. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty

This article first appeared on RobertReich.org.

Trump’s warning to former FBI Director James Comey against leaking anything negative about him – tweeting “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” – is deeply troubling.

The core issue here is not whether Trump is secretly recording his meetings or telephone calls (Trump and his White House aides refuse to say whether he tapes his visitors, something he was suspected of doing when he was in business in New York).

Related: Robert Reich : This Is How the Trump Presidency Ends

The real issues are these:

(1) The illegality of a President of the United States seeking to intimidate a potential witness in a congressional investigation.

(2) The illegality of a President potentially intimidating current FBI personnel who are investigating that president or his aides, by firing the former FBI head who was leading such an investigation and now threatening retaliation against him.

These illegal acts cannot be ignored. We are facing a constitutional crisis potentially larger and more significant than Richard Nixon’s “Watergate.” As long as Donald Trump remains president, our governing institutions are threatened.

The question now is whether there exist 22 House Republicans whose loyalty to the United States exceeds their loyalty to the Republican Party, who would join with House Democrats in seeking a bill of impeachment.

Related: Robert Reich : How To Tell Whether Trump is a Dictator

Robert Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations and Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary Inequality for All.