Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) said on May 18 that he had concluded President Donald Trump committed “impeachable conduct” and accused Attorney General William Barr of intentionally misleading the public. Congressman Amash’s comments recommending Congress to pursue obstruction of justice charges against President Trump were the first instance of a sitting Republican in Congress saying the President’s conduct meets the “threshold for impeachment.” Congressman Amash is a rare Republican critic of Trump and previously said the President’s conduct in pressuring then-FBI Director James Comey could merit impeachment. In a Twitter post, Amash said he believed “few members of Congress even read” special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and that the report itself established “multiple examples” of Trump committing obstruction of justice. “Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meets the threshold for impeachment,” Amash said in a string of messages on Twitter.
While many Democrats have called for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump since at least the middle of 2017, many members of the Republican party have agreed with President Trump’s assertions about the Mueller report and defended his conduct at every turn. For his part, Attorney General William Barr said the Mueller Report established no conspiracy between Trump and Russia and that he and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not believe its findings sufficient to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. Congressman Justin Amash’s comments concerning impeachment went further than even many members of House Democratic leadership. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on May 16 that “every day gives grounds for impeachment,” while at the same time arguing that she doesn’t want to impeach, though she did not rule out the possibility. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a staunch critic of President Donald Trump, responded to Amash’s Twitter thread and invited him to join her impeachment resolution.
Justin Amash, a Libertarian conservative elected during the Tea Party wave of 2010, was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a key bloc of Republicans who worked to shift the Republican caucus to the right on many issues, but in the Trump era, he has found himself breaking with his conservative allies who have embraced the President. Amash said that he made his conclusions “only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.” Amash said Barr misled the public in a range of venues regarding the Mueller report, a charge Democrats and others have made repeatedly that the attorney general has disputed. “Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice,” Amash said.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel criticized Justin Amash for his endorsement of impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump. “It’s sad to see Congressman Amash parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia,” McDaniel said in a statement.
“The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of President Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible. Voters in Amash’s district strongly support this President, and would rather their Congressman work to support the President’s policies that have brought jobs, increased wages and made life better for Americans.” Additionally, President Trump similarly condemned Amash’s comments, calling the Congressman a “total lightweight,” and a “loser” in a Twitter post.