GOP congressman declares that Trump engaged in ‘impeachable conduct’
A Republican congressman from Michigan on Saturday became the first member of President Trump’s party on Capitol Hill to accuse him of engaging in “impeachable conduct” stemming from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Rep. Justin Amash stopped short, however, of calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, which many Democrats have been agitating for.
Often a lone GOP voice in Congress, Amash sent a series of Twitter messages Saturday faulting both Trump and Atty. Gen. William Barr on matters related to Mueller’s report. The special counsel wrapped the investigation and submitted his report to Barr in late March. Barr within days released a summary of what he called Mueller’s “principal conclusions,” followed in April by a redacted version of the report.
Mueller found no criminal conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, but left open the question of whether Trump acted in ways that were meant to obstruct the investigation. Barr said there was insufficient evidence to bring obstruction charges against Trump.
Trump, who has frequently called the investigation a “witch hunt,” has claimed the Mueller reporter exonerated him completely.
Amash said he reached four conclusions after carefully reading the redacted version of Mueller’s report, including that “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.”
“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,” the congressman tweeted. He said the 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.”
The Justice Department, which Barr leads, operates under guidelines that advise against the indictment of a sitting president.
A representative for Amash did not immediately respond to an email request to speak with the congressman.
Democrats who control the House are locked in a bitter standoff with the White House as it ignores lawmakers’ requests for the full Mueller report and its underlying evidence and witness testimony. Some Democrats want the House to open impeachment hearings immediately, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has called for a more gradual and deliberate approach.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a freshman who opened her term by calling for Trump to be impeached, applauded Amash.
“You are putting country first, and that is to be commended,” Tlaib tweeted. Tlaib is seeking support for a resolution calling on the House to start impeachment proceedings.
Trump and other Republican lawmakers who have commented on the Mueller report generally view the matter as “case closed,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently declared on the floor of the Senate.
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