The Slatest

GOP Lawmaker Breaks With Party, Says Trump “Has Engaged in Impeachable Conduct”

Rep. Justin Amash speaks during a Politico Playbook Breakfast interview, at the W Hotel, on April 6, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Justin Amash speaks during a Politico Playbook Breakfast interview, at the W Hotel, on April 6, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rep. Justin Amash became the first Republican in Congress to publicly acknowledge that impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump could be justified. Even though he didn’t outright call for Trump’s impeachment, the lawmaker from Michigan did say the president “engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”

Amash began his lengthy Twitter thread that he posted Saturday afternoon by saying he had reached four “principal conclusions” after reading special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report. And that, according to Amash, makes him an exception because few members of Congress have actually read it. The main conclusions include an acknowledgment that Attorney General William Barr deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report and a realization that Trump “has engaged in impeachable conduct.” The special counsel’s report makes it clear that Trump “engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash wrote.

Even though some have warned that more polarized politics could lead to an increase in impeachment efforts, Amash has the opposite fear. “While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct,” Amash wrote.

The lawmaker from Michigan who was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave, went on to note that Barr’s efforts to mislead the public on the contents of the Mueller report weren’t a one-time thing. “It is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings,” Amash wrote. “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 went on to point out that it is up to Congress to take the next step and blasted his colleagues for changing their views on impeachment depending on who is being accused. “We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees—on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice—depending on whether they’re discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump,” he said. That partisanship was all the more evident when lawmakers appeared able to reach their conclusions quickly. “Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation—and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release,” he said.