Republican lawmakers in the House and the Senate pushed back Sunday against a colleague who broke with their party and joined progressives in their call to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
Rep. Justin Amash, Michigan Republican, issued over the weekend more than a dozen tweets about why he thinks the president’s conduct has crossed the line, suggesting Mr. Trump has violated the public trust and Congress should exercise its checks and balances authority.
“President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct,” Mr. Amash said in one tweet.
“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,” he said in another.
The libertarian lawmaker has been known to break with the ranks and has been a vocal critic of the president. Mr. Amash supported other GOP presidential candidates in the 2016 election.
Sen. Mitt Romney, who also has publicly sparred with the president and didn’t back him in 2016 either, said Sunday he disagrees with Mr. Amash’s conclusions, based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on his two-year probe into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
Although the Utah Republican said some of the information in Mr. Mueller’s report is troubling, he said he does not think Mr. Trump should be impeached.
“There isn’t the full elements you need to prove an obstruction of justice case,” Mr. Romney said on CNN’s “State of the Union.
Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney said Sunday he does not support the recently passed Alabama law that would ban abortions with few exceptions, going further than legislation in any other state.
“I don’t support the Alabama law,” Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” Link
“The American people just aren’t there,” the 2012 GOP presidential nominee added. “I don’t think impeachment is the right way to go.”
Mr. Mueller found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But he did not draw a conclusion about whether the president engaged in obstruction of justice, leaving that call to Attorney General William Barr, who cleared the president from wrongdoing.
Like Mr. Romney, Rep. Mark Walker, North Carolina Republican, dismissed Mr. Amash’s call for Congress to act, telling Fox News he doesn’t see the libertarian influencing other Republicans.
Mr. Trump also took to Twitter in his own defense Sunday, calling Mr. Amash a “lightweight” and a “loser.”
“Never a fan of @justinamash, 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,” the president tweeted.
“Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!” he added.
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But Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat, said Mr. Amash’s position against Mr. Trump is the start of a bipartisan impeachment process.
“There is now bipartisan support of now understating the seriousness of what is in the Mueller report,” Ms. Jayapal told CNN.
She said it isn’t about a rush to vote for the president to be impeached, but to open up a probe into the possibility.
“We’re very quickly heading down that path,” Ms. Jayapal said.
Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CBS that impeachment at this point wouldn’t be successful in the Senate, where the GOP currently holds the majority. It would take a two-thirds vote to convict the president.
The California Democrat, though, praised Mr. Amash, saying he showed more courage than any other GOP lawmaker in Congress.
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