At long last, a Republican member of Congress has spoken out against Donald Trump and acknowledged that the president’s conduct is worthy of impeachment.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash, who represents Michigan’s 3rd District and is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, became the first GOP lawmaker to say Trump should be impeached.
Amash also said that Attorney General William Barr deliberately misled the public about the Mueller report, which he said few members of Congress have actually read.
“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash wrote. “In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.”
Amash said he reached his conclusions after reading the redacted Mueller report, which was released last month. In it, Special Counsel Robert Mueller outlined 10 instances in which Trump potentially committed obstruction of justice, including the president’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his multiple attempts to disrupt or halt Mueller’s probe, among others.
Regarding the attorney general, Amash added: “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.”
The lawmaker warned that being overly cautious about impeachment could mean that Congress would use it “so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.”
He noted that many of his colleagues had issued statements about the 448-page report “within just hours of its release,” so they couldn’t have read it.
“America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome,” Amash wrote. “Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, said his committee would meet next week to discuss holding Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena to turn over to Congress an unredacted version of the Mueller report, along with supporting evidence. The House Judiciary Committee already has voted to hold the attorney general in contempt over the same issue.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week said that Trump “every day gives grounds for impeachment,” CNN reported. But Pelosi reiterated that she doesn’t want to impeach Trump because she thinks it would be too divisive for the country and it could be politically disadvantageous. “…[W]e have to exhaust every other remedy on the way,” she said.
Meanwhile, Barr continues to defend Trump and defy Congress. And he wants to investigate the investigators. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Barr said, “Government power was used to spy on American citizens.”
In a separate interview with Fox News, Barr defended Trump’s repeated mischaracterization of Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.” “He was saying he was innocent and that he was being falsely accused,” Barr said. “And if you’re falsely accused, you would think that something was a witch hunt…I think if I had been falsely accused I’d be comfortable saying it was a witch hunt.”