Yesterday, Rep. Justin Amash made headlines when he became the first Republican lawmaker to turn on President Donald Trump by acknowledging that the president’s conduct is impeachable, based on a close reading of the Mueller report.
It was only a matter of time before the thin-skinned president—who obsessively watches cable news shows—responded.
Sure enough, on Sunday morning, Trump went after Amash on Twitter, although as with all things Trump, we can’t be certain the president actually wrote the series of tweets himself. Trump called Amash, who as a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus hasn’t been particularly noteworthy in terms of other legislative accomplishments, a “loser.” But the fact that Amash actually read the 448-page Mueller report sets him apart from most of his GOP colleagues.
“Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy,” Trump tweeted. “If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, ‘composed’ by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump…he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION...Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side? Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!”
The part of Trump’s comment in which he states, “If he actually read the biased Mueller Report…” is particularly amusing, given that Trump probably did not read the report. And in Amash’s Twitter thread on Saturday, the Michigan lawmaker is clear that he “read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely,” and he “discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.”
Of course, facts don’t matter to Trump—we all know that.
Trump’s tweets also show us that he has given up entirely on trying to mask the fact that he uses Mueller’s report to simultaneously claim vindication and to further his “witch hunt” narrative that the investigation was a “Deep State” plot by “18 Angry Dems” planted on Mueller’s team of investigators.
It’s not clear yet if Amash’s actions will have any type of snowball effect on other Republicans. House Democrats likely already have enough votes to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump, although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t budging yet on her publicly stated commitment to avoiding them. In the Republican-controlled Senate, the body of Congress that ultimately would be tasked with voting to convict Trump, there is no sign that any Republicans are considering abandoning the Trump Train.
On Sunday, flip-flopping Republican Sen. Mitt Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper he didn’t believe “there is the full element you need to prove an obstruction of justice case.”
“I don’t think a prosecutor would actually look at this and say, ‘OK, we have here all the elements that would get this to a conviction,’” Romney said.
That statement by Romney, who said he had read the entire Mueller report, contradicts the opinion of nearly 1,000 former federal prosecutors—both Republicans and Democrats—who signed a letter stating that “the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”