Palestinian American Congressman Amash becomes first Republican to call for Trump’s impeachment
By Ray Hanania
Palestinian American Congressman Justin Amash on Friday became the first Republican to publicly call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
The conservative Michigan congressman said he carefully read the report submitted by Special Justice Department Counsel Robert Mueller on April 18 concluding a two-year long investigation and concluded that “President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”
Amash, 38, was first elected to Congress in November 2010 not from Greater Detroit which has a large Arab and Muslim population, but from the 3rd Congressional District based in Grand Rapids in central eastern Michigan which has a very small Arab American population and is 84 percent white and 8 percent African American.
“In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,” Amash said in a series of Tweets he began publishing Saturday morning.
“Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report.”
President Trump responded Sunday morning, accusing Amash of being a “Trump hater” and who is not really a Republicans.
Trump Tweeted, “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. If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, “composed” by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump,….”
An Orthodox Christian, Amash is the Chairman of the Liberty Caucus of eight members of the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives. Libertarian Republicans seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment.
Amash saved his harshest words for U.S. attorney General William Barr, saying, “In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings. … Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.”
Amash’s surprise criticism of Trump goes even further than the leader of the Democratic Party, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who earlier this week said that impeachment is a means of investigating the President’s conduct.
“It doesn’t mean you are going on an impeachment path. But it means if you had the information you might. So it isn’t about impeachment. It is about impeachment as a purpose,” Pelosi explained.
Uncharacteristically, Trump did not respond to Amash’s Tweets, although the two have shared many differences over the past two years. Amash was the first Republican to speak out against Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court last July, even though Amash did not have a vote on the nominating committee. Despite Amash’s opposition, Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court on October 6, 2018 succeeding Anthony Kennedy who retired.
Under the U.S. Constitution, Impeachment is the first step in a long and difficult process to remove a president from office. The decision to impeach is made by the U.S. House of Representatives with a simple majority vote of the 435 members. The U.S. Senate would then take the impeachment and determine if a trial should be held and the Constitution requires that two-thirds of the Senate’s 100 members are required to convict the president and thereby remove him from office.
Only three American presidents have been impeached, Andrew Jackson in 1868, Richard M. Nixon in 1974 and William Jefferson Clinton in 1998. The In the cases of Jackson and Clinton, the Senate failed to approve a conviction resulting in acquittals of the charges. Nixon resigned from office before the Impeachment was sent to the U.S Senate for trial.
Amash is one of eight members of the U.S. House who are of Arab heritage, The other seven members are Louisiana Republicans Ralph Abraham and Garrett Graves, Illinois Republican Darin LaHood, Florida Democrats Charlie Crist and Donna Shalala, Minnesota Democrat Ihlan Omar and Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib. Tlaib is Palestinian, Omar is Somali and Abraham, Graves, LaHood, Crist and Shalala are of Lebanese heritage. (Democratic California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo is of Assyrian heritage whose ancestors are from the Middle East but do not consider themselves Arab.)
(Ray Hanania is the Special US Correspondent for the Arab News. He can be reached at ray.hanania@ArabNews.com.)