Justin Amash Destroys Arguments That Trump Didn't Obstruct Justice - Rolling Stone
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Republican Congressman Destroys Arguments That Trump Didn’t Obstruct Justice

Rep. Justin Amash is doubling down on his weekend claim that the president deserves to be impeached

UNITED STATES - MAY 4: Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., arrives to the Capitol before the House passed the Republicans' bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on May 4, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Justin Amash, R-Mich., responded to the critics who have challenged him by dismantling, one by one, the most popular ways conservatives have tried to argue that Trump did not obstruct justice.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

On Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) became the first Republican lawmaker to publicly express a belief that President Trump deserves to be impeached. In a string of tweets, Amash wrote that the president “engaged in impeachable conduct,” and that Attorney General William Barr deliberately misrepresented the contents of the report filed last month by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “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 wrote.

Trump responded on Sunday by calling Amash a “loser” and 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 is far from the only Republican to lash out at Amash for veering off the party line (which seems to be “defend the president’s criminality at all costs”), and on Monday Amash responded to the critics who have challenged him by dismantling, one by one, the most popular ways conservatives have tried to argue that Trump did not obstruct justice. “People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation — and therefore cannot be impeached — are resting their argument on several falsehoods,” Amash wrote.

Argument #1: It doesn’t matter because there was no underlying crime

Argument #2: Justice cannot be obstructed without an underlying crime

“If an underlying crime were required, then prosecutors could charge obstruction of justice only if it were unsuccessful in completely obstructing the investigation,” Amash adds. “This would make no sense.”

Argument #3: The investigation was a ridiculous waste of time and so the president was justified in his efforts to end it

Argument #4: Impeachment calls for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which means the president is all clear because he wasn’t charged with anything

Amash joins several of his Democratic colleagues in Congress in arguing the president is deserving of impeachment. Not among them is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who will ultimately need to sign off on the idea before impeachment proceedings begin. “I know it’s going to take courage on the part of all of our members to stick with a program that might not be as fast as they want,” Pelosi reportedly said on a conference call with House Democrats late last month. She added that she’s “not struggling with this decision” to hold off on impeaching President Trump. Pelosi said last week that “every day gives grounds for impeachment in terms of his obstruction of justice,” but her fundamental position on the issue has not changed.

This isn’t the first time Amash has avoided lining up alongside other Republicans to kiss Trump’s ring. When Democrats introduced a resolution to block the president’s national emergency declaration in February, Amash was one of a small handful of Republicans to vote in favor of it. “A national emergency declaration for a non-emergency is void,” he tweeted at the time. “A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act. @POTUS @realDonaldTrump is attempting to circumvent our constitutional system.”

“Never a fan of @justinamash,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.


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