July 9, 2019
Representative Justin Amash (I-Michigan)—who last week renounced his membership in the Republican party—said on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s personal attacks against critics might intimidate others in the G.O.P. from speaking out against him; but clarified, “It doesn’t scare me,” Reuters reported.
Amash, 39, became the first Republican congressman to speak out in favor of impeaching Trump in mid-May, after the release of the Mueller report. He said the investigation of Russia’s interference into the 2016 U.S. election had found abundant evidence that Trump had obstructed justice—bucking his party and echoing the conclusions of many Democrats.
Indeed, Amash believes that other Republicans would have joined him in denouncing the president’s oppositional and unethical conduct, had they not been afraid of being singled out by their colleagues for personal, nasty attacks.
“I get people sending me text messages, people calling me, saying ‘thank you for what you’re doing,'” Amash told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a wide-ranging interview.. “They’re not saying it publicly. And I think that’s a problem for our country, it’s a problem for the Republican Party, it’s a problem for the Democratic Party when people aren’t allowed to speak out.”
In response to requests for comment, the president has denied any wrongdoing.
Amash told CNN he is running in Michigan for reelection to Congress as an Independent. Asked about possibly running for president as an independent or libertarian, Amash said, “I still wouldn’t rule anything like that out.”
Trump officially began his re-election campaign on June 18 and more than 20 Democrats are campaigning for their party’s nomination to run against Trump in 2020.
When Amash said he was leaving the party, Trump tweeted, “Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress is ‘quitting’ the Party.”
On Sunday, Amash said that “most people understand that’s not how people are supposed to talk about each other and to each other.”
He said Trump “thinks people owe loyalty to him. But people are elected to Congress with an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not an oath to support and defend one person.”
Amash said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is mistaken in holding off fellow Democrats from pursuing impeachment proceedings.
In the same interview, Amash said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should start impeachment proceedings against Trump.
“From a principled, moral position, she’s making a mistake. From a strategic position, she’s making a mistake,” Amash said. “If she believes, as I do, that there’s impeachable conduct in there, then she should say so. She should tell the American people, we’re going to move forward with impeachment hearings and potentially articles of impeachment.”
Research contact: @CNNPolitics