WASHINGTON — A group of more than two dozen Democratic freshmen legislators want U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — who had been a Republican until this year — to help present the case for impeaching President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate.
Neither Amash’s office nor the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office immediately commented on the request, which was first reported by the Washington Post on Sunday and confirmed for the Free Press by the office of U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who is leading the effort.
But the request makes some sense: Earlier this year, Amash, now an independent from Cascade Charter Township in west Michigan, became the only Republican in the U.S. House to call for Trump’s impeachment following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election and its aftermath.
That report concluded that Trump did not collude with Russians but left it up to Congress to decide if he had improperly obstructed justice. Amash — a lawyer — concluded that he had and in May publicly outlined his reasoning in deciding that Trump has committed impeachable offices, described in the U.S. Constitution only as “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Trump responded by calling Amash a “loser” and a “lightweight” on Twitter.
The House didn’t take up impeachment on those issues. But, in September, after a whistleblower’s report that Trump had asked the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden, for corruption, House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry. The House is set to vote this week on two articles of impeachment and then send them to the U.S. Senate for trial.
As part of that trial, the House speaker would send floor managers to prosecute the Democrats’ case. Amash —who has already said he will vote to impeach the president — abandoned the Republican Party on July 4, declaring himself an independent and saying that Congress is in a “partisan death spiral.”
The Post reported Sunday that 30 freshman Democrats led by Phillips were urging House leaders to make Amash an impeachment manager as a way to bring a conservative voice to the proceedings.
“To the extent that this can be bipartisan, it should, and I think including Rep. Amash among the impeachment managers is a smart move both for the country, for the substance and for the optics,” Phillips told the Post.
Phillips also said that, as a constitutional lawyer, Amash is qualified to handle the task. He is also, Phillips said “the first and only member of the Republican conference, when he was a Republican, to show courage.”
It remains to be seen, however, whether Pelosi, D-Calif., would entertain such a notion, especially since Amash has been and remains a fierce critic of Democrats as well and they are hopeful of making a play for his congressional seat next year. Amash, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, has long been known as a libertarian and a strict constitutionalist and supporter of small government.
Although Amash’s office did not return a request for comment, Phillips told the Post he has been in contact with Amash and that he would consider being a floor manager if asked.
While the Democratic majority in the House is expected to approve articles of impeachment, the Republican-led Senate is expected to turn back the effort to remove the president from office, which requires a two-thirds vote in the chamber.