New York, NY - Following yesterday’s reporting that former FBI Director James Comey recorded a contemporaneous account of President Trump urging him to end the agency’s investigation into Russian interference with the U.S. election and earlier revelations that Trump shared highly sensitive intelligence with Russian officials in the Oval Office, Heather McGhee, President of the New York-based public policy think tank Demos, issued the following statement:
“Benjamin Franklin supposedly told onlookers that the founders had forged ‘a Republic, if you can keep it’—and this moment of peril calls that question. Within one whirlwind week, Donald J. Trump has demonstrated conclusively that he is dangerously unfit to be President of the United States and put our Republic at great risk.
“Now each of our elected leaders must ask themselves: will they put country over party or politics, and take action to defend our democracy from creeping authoritarianism and a reckless disregard for the rule of law?
“The urgently needed steps to safeguard our republican form of government are clear. The Deputy Attorney General must immediately authorize the appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible crimes by Trump or his associates, including obstruction of justice; Congress must act to appoint and fund an independent commission to bring to light the full scope of Russian influence on the U.S. election and any possible collusion with Trump’s campaign; and Mr. Comey must be called to testify publicly about his interactions with the President.
“Until all three happen, nothing else should move forward in Washington—no legislation passed, judges or executive appointments confirmed, buildings renamed. The biggest danger we face right now is normalization of authoritarian conduct, and this occurs by proceeding with ‘business as usual.’
“Finally, if these investigations confirm the current appearances that Trump has acted to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s conduct, recklessly endangered American interests by compromising intelligence gathering, treasonously colluded with a foreign power, or is otherwise unfit to hold the highest office in the land, Congress or other appropriate officials should take steps to remove him from office. Only vigilance and decisive action can preserve the United States as a country where rule of law tempers unfettered personal power.”