Why the window to prosecute Trump is closing

Holding Trump accountable is not an act of partisanship. It’s a defense of our democracy.

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Donald Trump is not above the law. He must be prosecuted — to preserve what’s left of our democracy.

Trump spent years evading the consequences of his actions thanks to the wealth he accumulated from his empire of scams.

Now, he’s counting on his political power to shield himself from far more serious crimes.

Every day we wait to hold Trump accountable only emboldens him — and others like him — to wreak havoc on our Constitution and the rule of law.

Take for instance Trump’s recent threat, that if he is indicted for stealing classified documents, there will be:

“…problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before…I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”

These are the threats of a bully and a fraud who knows he’s been cornered.

As the window for accountability closes, three things need to happen:

First, the Department of Justice must prosecute Trump.

Trump incited an assault on the Capitol, stole top secret documents, and illegally schemed to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice must stand firm in the face of Trump’s efforts to intimidate them.

They must hold him accountable.

Second, the media should set the record straight.

This is not a matter of left versus right, liberal versus conservative, Democrat versus Republican. It is a question of the Constitution and the rule of law versus authoritarianism and tyranny.

If Trump succeeds — if he intimidates his way out of being held accountable — we’re giving up on our democracy and asking for this kind of lawlessness to prevail.

The media must stop covering this as if there are two sides to this story. The obsession with “balanced coverage” in the face of Trump’s crimes is misleading.

Finally, Republicans must condemn Trump.

The time has come for Republican lawmakers, candidates, and the right-wing media to show some backbone and vigorously repudiate Trump. Their failure to do so before now has created a monster that threatens to consume this country. It is up to them to tell their constituents, followers, readers and viewers that there is no place in America for Trump’s threats to the rule of law or his incitements to violence.

And for all those who claim that a former president should not face criminal prosecution because it would set a “dangerous precedent” — isn’t it more dangerous to allow a former president to avoid accountability for actions that violate the law and the Constitution?

If Trump walks away unscathed, insurrectionists will think they can attack our democracy  and get away with it. And they will be right.

For the moment, Americans who favor democracy and the rule of law control the levers of power.

But for how long?

Holding Trump accountable is not an act of partisanship. It’s a defense of our democracy.

Read it on Robert Reich’s blog.

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Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "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, co-founder of the nonprofit Inequality Media and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.

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