WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) published a 13-tweet thread Saturday afternoon that explained his conclusions and interpretations of the Mueller report.
Amash's opinions are gaining traction on Twitter, garnering thousands of retweets within hours. He summarized his thoughts with four main points:
- "Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
- President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
- Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
- Few members of Congress have read the report."
The Mueller report has been in the works for much of Trump's presidency. And since its release in April, questions still remain about what action, if any, will be taken as a result of the Russia probe.
While Amash's tweets do make some strong statements about impeachment, they stop short of actually calling for impeachment proceedings to begin.
THE BACKGROUND OF THE MUELLER REPORT
The report was prepared by special counsel Robert Mueller who investigated President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and possible Russian interference in the presidential election.
After Mueller finished his report, it was given to Attorney General William Barr who issued a four page summary of the investigation on April 4. Barr's summary was the focus of criticism, with House Democrats questioning if it presented filtered version of the report.
In Barr's summary, he said Mueller did not find evidence that Trump's campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia to influence the election. However, the report reached no conclusion whether Trump obstructed justice.
On April 18, a redacted version of the 448-page report was given to Congress. Revelations from Mueller's findings are still being discussed and analyzed, including from Amash.
WHAT AMASH TWEETED
Amash is a Republican who represents the 3rd district, which covers Grand Rapids and a large chunk of West Michigan. As a Congressman during Trump's presidency Amash has made headlines for bucking party trends. His Twitter thread on the Mueller report is no different.
Amash said he reached his conclusions after reading the entire redacted report, reading statements about it and watching relevant testimony. However, he believes few members of Congress have done similarly.
About Barr's letter, Amash said the attorney general intended to mislead the public about the Russia probe.
"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 tweeted.
The congressman argues that Trump's behavior and actions, as outlined in Mueller's report, "meet the threshold for impeachment." He cites the Constitutional definition of impeachment, which says the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Amash says the "high crimes and misdemeanors" aspect is not defined, but context implies it is actions that violate the public trust.
Amash argues any other person who was not president would have been indicted based on the evidence presented in the Mueller report, which shows "multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice."
The impeachment debate has plagued congressional democrats, however Amash said the current polarizing political climate has clouded lawmakers' judgement on the issue.
"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," he said. "When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law—the foundation of liberty—crumbles."
Amash is not alone in calling for impeachment, but as a Republican, his opinion is not shared with many in his party. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have also pushed for Congress to start impeachment proceedings.
Another Michigan representative, Rashida Tlaib, a democrat from Detroit, has called for Trump's impeachment since she took office in January. As Amash's tweets gained more attention online, Tlaib tweeted a response to him. She said the congressman is putting "country first, and that is to be commended." Tlaib also asked Amash to consider signing a resolution to being the investigation into impeachment.
A core problem Amash highlights is the partisanship in the House of Representatives. He contends that it is the role of officials to uphold the constitutional system, even if it results in a political hit.
"Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it," he said.
Amash's tweets gained traction Saturday night, trending on Twitter and being retweeted by thousands including journalists, celebrities and other politicians. However, it was also met with criticism.
Michigan Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga's office said this in response to Amash's conclusions: "Any member of Congress has the ability to file articles of impeachment at any time if they believe such a charge is warranted. Bill has said publicly that he is not aware of any impeachable offense."
The Michigan Republican Party said they have no comment at this time.
Republican State Rep. Jim Lower from Greenville tweeted that Amash's statements could not go "unchallenged." The first-term representative said he will be making a major announcement this week about Michigan's 3rd Congressional district, appearing to hint as a future challenger for Amash's seat.
The current chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, said Amash was "parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russia" with his statements.
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