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The first Republican member of Congress to come out in favor of impeaching Donald Trump described how he arrived at that decision at a hometown town hall meeting in Michigan.
Rep. Justin Amash made headlines when he joined Democrats seeking Trump’s impeachment.
Amash, who has been subjected to harsh criticism from his his GOP colleagues for his decision to speak out, came to his decision after reading the publicly available, redacted report compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“But, I think it’s really important that we do our job as a Congress, that we not allow misconduct to go undeterred. That we not just say, ‘Someone can violate the public trust and that there are no consequences to it,'” Amash said. “And if you get a chance, I encourage you all to read the tweet where it lays all of this house. Mueller’s report lays all of this out. And I’m confident that if you read Vol. II, you’ll be appalled at much of the conduct. And I was appalled by it.
“And that’s why I stated what I stated. That’s why I came to that conclusion, because I think we can’t go — we can’t let conduct like that go unchecked,” Amash added. “Congress has a duty to keep the president in check … “
At the town hall, Amash won applause as he defended his choice in an interchange with a female constituent wearing a red, pro-Trump MAGA cap.
“First, I have one of the most constitutionally conservative and fiscally conservative voting records in the whole Congress,” Amash said to applause. “In fact, I have voted to spend less than any member of Congress in either chamber since I’ve been in Congress. So I voted for less spending. When I got elected as part of the Tea Party movement, people cared about limited government, they cared about fiscal conservatism, making sure that our government wasn’t spending too much. Under the current administration, spending is skyrocketing. Spending has gone way up. And Republicans, unfortunately, have not said that much about it. And I continue to vote to reduce spending at the federal level. I talked earlier about how I think we did too many things at the federal level.
“If you look at my scorecards from conservative groups, I’m at the top of nearly all the scorecards,” Amash said to further applause. “I’m not even a middle-of-the-road Republican when it comes to these scorecards. I’m at the top or near the top of every scorecards. So I haven’t changed. I’m who I said I was. I’m a constitutional, principled conservative who has stayed consistent regardless of whether we have President Obama in office or President Trump. Now, I heard your comments about the Mueller Report, but you haven’t stated any facts. What are the facts you’re disputing? I tweeted about 70 times over a course of four threads, and I have yet to see anyone really refute the points that I make in the threads. So what are the specific points you’d like to refute? I’d be happy to hear it.”
In separate remarks, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) praised Amash and said that the nation needs more lawmakers like him who would put their country ahead of party.
“Yeah, and what he has done is what we need more people in the United States Congress to do, which is to put country before party. Put country before party. We are looking at a system right now where, you know, and this is where I derive optimism but also concern. You know, the framers of our country they designed a beautiful system in terms of our democracy,” said Harris, also one of about two dozen Democrats running for president. “They designed a system where they said, ‘Okay, then they presupposed in some branch of government there might be abuses.’ So they designed our democracy, our republic in a way there would be three co-equal branches of government and then a free and independent press with the idea that each would then be the check and balance against each other.
“So when we talk about a process of impeachment, it is about the checks and balances that the framers imagined would be in place to be a check against abuses, and that is another reason why I support that process,” Harris added. “And what he is talking about is right. We must put country before party on a fundamental interest that is about the integrity of our democracy.”