The first member of the House Republican caucus to come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is four-term Nevada congressman Mark Amodei. Despite reporting that under a “secret” impeachment inquiry vote, 30-35 Republicans would vote in favor of it, Amodei is the only member to publicly say he supports an inquiry.
Amodei, who is chair of Trump’s re-election campaign in Nevada, announced his decision on a phone call with the media on Friday.
“Listen, I want to see what the process produces,” Amodei said. “And quite frankly, if there’s something there that rises to that level, then guess what, that’s not something that we can have by a Democrat or a Republican.”
In a statement issued by his office following the call, Amodei said that while he supported the inquiry, he was not in favor of impeachment, reserving judgment on whether the president violated the law.
“I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes,” Amodei said during the conference call. “Using government agencies to, if it’s proven, to put your finger on the scale of an election, I don’t think that’s right. If it turns out that it’s something along those lines, then there’s a problem.”
Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party in July, is the only member of Congress not in the Democratic Party to support actual impeachment, publicly announcing in May that the president has committed “impeachable conduct.”
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Following reports that Amodei supported impeachment, he clarified to the Nevada Independent: “If it was my statement and I had the ability to do it over, I would probably phrase it differently,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s a smoking gun.”
“I think that’s why we have the committee process,” he added. “I won’t attribute what was in the president’s mind. That wasn’t a great way to express concern about it. Part of what the committees will do is try to find some context for that and then based on what a fair reading of the context is, they’ll go forward from there.”
Amodei was also cautious not to go too far with his statement, lest he be portrayed as supporting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Please, nobody hang up the phone and say, ‘Amodei is Pelosi’s defender,’” he said.