Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says there is enough evidence against President Donald Trump to begin impeachment proceedings.
Reich, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, argued the case for impeachment in an opinion piece in the Sept. 13 issue of Newsweek.
"There's already more than enough evidence of probable cause to begin that impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump," Reich insists.
He begins his op-ed with a reference to Steve Bannon's interview on the Sept. 10 edition of "60 Minutes Overtime," in which the former White House chief strategist referred to Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey as the biggest mistake in "modern political history."
One reason Bannon considers it a mistake is because, in his opinion, FBI directors are interchangeable. "I don't believe that the institutional logic of the FBI, and particularly in regards to an investigation, could possibly be changed by changing the head of it," Bannon said, reports the Daily Mail.
The other reason Bannon considers it a mistake is because it is responsible for the current investigation, led by former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"We would not have the Mueller investigation" if Comey had not been fired, Bannon stated.
But while Bannon disagreed with Comey's firing on grounds of political strategy, Reich contends that it was an illegal act.
The firing of Comey, writes Reich, was "an outright obstruction of justice." He notes that "obstruction of justice was among the articles of impeachment drafted against both Presidents [Richard] Nixon and [Bill] Clinton."
He lists other impeachable offenses as "violation of the Constitution's 'emolument's clause,' failure to faithfully execute the laws, and abuse of power."
"The parallel between Nixon and Trump is almost exact," Reich adds.
Nixon, he recalls, was caught on tape giving instructions to the FBI director to halt the Watergate investigation. He compares that to the leaked memo that Trump wrote to Comey, encouraging him to stop investigating National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was ultimately fired for failing to disclose his communications with a Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign, as summarized by The New York Times.
Reich argues: "As in Nixon's case, a decision to support an 'inquiry of impeachment' resolution in the House -- to start an impeachment investigation -- doesn't depend on sufficient evidence to convict a person of obstruction of justice, but simply probable cause to believe a president may have obstructed justice."
Despite Reich's argument in favor of impeaching Trump, some leading Democrats have argued against it.
"No one ought to, in my view, rush to embrace the most extraordinary remedy that involves the removal of the president from office," said Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, The Times reports.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont concurred: "What needs to happen is that we have got to go forward with an absolutely bipartisan investigation. The public must understand this is not a Democratic issue."