Justin Amash Doubles Down On His Charges Against Attorney General Barr

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash doubled down on his assertion that the Attorney General was deliberately misleading Congress and the American public.

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash was back on Twitter late yesterday afternoon with another Twitter storm, this time going after what he contends is Attorney General William Barr’s misrepresentation of the contents of Mueller report:

Rep. Justin Amash, who earlier this month became the first Republican member of Congress to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, took aim at Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday — charging that the nation’s top law enforcement officer has “used his position to sell the president’s false narrative to the American people.”

In a 25-post Twitter spree, the Michigan lawmaker accused Barr of having “deliberately misrepresented” the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation in a March 24 letter to Congress summarizing the special counsel’s findings.

Amash wrote online Tuesday that Barr’s letter “selectively quotes and summarizes points in Mueller’s report in misleading ways,” and asserted that “the public and Congress were misled” as a result of the attorney general’s initial four-page summary.

Amash admonished Barr for not complying with Mueller’s request — articulated in a March 27 letter from the special counsel to the attorney general — to release the introductions and executive summaries of Mueller’s report.

The congressman also blasted the head of the Justice Department for subsequently testifying before lawmakers that he was not aware of dissatisfaction among members of Mueller’s team with his handling of the report’s rollout.

“Barr has so far successfully used his position to sell the president’s false narrative to the American people,” Amash tweeted. “This will continue if those who have read the report do not start pushing back on his misrepresentations and share the truth.”

Amash on May 18 joined with many national Democrats in calling for Trump’s removal from office, writing online in a series of tweets that the president “has engaged in impeachable conduct.”

More from The Hill:

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on Tuesday doubled down on his accusation that Attorney General William Barr “deliberately misrepresented” the contents of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The GOP lawmaker, who has sharply criticized President Trump and last week became the first congressional Republican to call for his impeachment, accused Barr of “selectively” quoting Mueller in the summary he released prior to making public the investigation’s full, redacted report.

“As a result of Barr’s March 24 letter, the public and Congress were misled,” Amash tweeted on Tuesday. He went on to accuse the attorney general of using “subsequent statements and testimony … to help build the president’s false narrative that the investigation was unjustified.”

In a lengthy series of tweets, Amash explained the argument he made earlier this month about Barr, joining numerous Democrats in slamming the attorney general and calling for Trump’s impeachment.

Weeks before releasing a redacted version of Mueller’s report to the public, Barr sent a letter to Congress detailing the top-level conclusion that Trump’s presidential campaign did not coordinate with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.

The letter also noted that Mueller had not reached a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice by interfering with the probe itself and that Barr had decided not to indict Trump on it.

“Mueller’s report says he chose not to decide whether Trump broke the law because there’s an official DoJ opinion that indicting a sitting president is unconstitutional,” Amash noted Tuesday.

“Barr’s letter doesn’t mention those issues when explaining why Mueller chose not to make a prosecutorial decision. He instead selectively quotes Mueller in a way that makes it sound—falsely—as if Mueller’s decision stemmed from legal/factual issues specific to Trump’s actions.”

Here, meanwhile, are Amash’s Tweets, which need to be read in full:

In addition to this tweetstorm, Amash also appeared late yesterday at a town hall in his district at which he spent most of his time talking to constituents about why he came forward:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — At the edge of the crowd, Diane Luke, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, stood up and informed Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, that she did not have the words to express her disappointment in him.

“How can you become a Democrat when we voted you in as a Republican?” asked Ms. Luke, a 57-year-old from Grand Rapids, as boos, hisses and heckles rumbled through the crowd on Tuesday at his first town hall-style meeting since publicly declaring that President Trump’s behavior had reached the “threshold of impeachment.”

Mr. Amash rebuked the accusation to the cheers of the crowd that packed the auditorium. “I haven’t changed,” he said. “I’m who I said I was.”

Since he first outlined his belief that the special counsel’s report showed that Mr. Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct,” Republicans nationally have lined up in opposition to Mr. Amash, a five-term Republican with a reputation for saying “no.” From his earliest days in Washington, Mr. Amash has been a marginal figure,consistently voting against both political parties, publishing explanations of his latest “no” on a Facebook page where he proclaims, “I defend liberty and explain every vote here.”

Principled, yes, even critics will concede. A thought leader in the Republican Party? No.

But in Mr. Trump’s Republican Party, no figure is too marginal to be ignored — and even the faintest spark of opposition must be snuffed out, doused, crushed and buried.

Since Mr. Amash concluded that the president “engaged in impeachable conduct,” the billionaire DeVos family, whose money has helped bankroll the Republican Party here for decades, said through a spokesman that it would not financially support the congressman. Two Republicans have announced they will run against him in next year’s Republican primary race. And the president called him “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.”

“He’s isolated and marginalized himself in D.C.,” said Jim Lower, a state representative who rushed to put forward his primary challengeafter

Mr. Amash’s initial flurry of tweets about the president’s actions.

But in Grand Rapids, his political stronghold, Mr. Amash’s boldness was still applauded — wildly. Political strategists and voters say this congressional district in southwestern Michigan may not only tolerate an unabashed and frequent Republican critic of the president. It might also demand it. Mr. Amash’s event on Tuesday served to underscore the voter dynamics that will ultimately dictate his political future representing Michigan’s third district.

There were voters angry over a perceived lack of loyalty to the party and those appreciative of a politician consistent in his views and votes. Attendees came in “It’s Mueller Time” shirts, a liberal cry of support for the special counsel, and red “Make America Great Again” apparel.

For a little over two hours, Mr. Amash fielded question after question about his analysis of the report and his legislative record, jousting with former supporters who lamented his refusal to toe the party line and calling for a respectful dialogue as audience members heckled at long-winded or controversial remarks.

One attendee fretted that Mr. Amash would lose re-election and the district would “miss out on a principled representative.” (Mr. Amash said that he was not concerned.)

In a reminder of Mr. Amash’s wavering political standing, hundreds crammed into the orchestra and mezzanine levels of the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship at Grand Rapids Christian High School, from which all four of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s children graduated. Auditorium employees estimated at least 800 people attended.

“He reminds me a lot of Barry Goldwater,” said Lon Johnson, a former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. “He’s consistent in his principles. You may not like those principles, but consistency is a principle lacking in our Congress right now.”

The coverage of Amash’s appearance by other media outlets was somewhat more positive. Politico, for example, characterized Amash as receiving a “hero’s welcome” from the crowd, while Talking Points Memo emphasized the extent to which the response from the crowd was positive. Other media outlets were similarly positive. On MSNBC this morning, for example, there was an interview with a woman prior to the town hall who identified herself as a Trump voter who didn’t understand why Amash was taking the position that he did. After the town hall, the same woman said that Amash had done much to convince her that he had reached the conclusion that Impeachment was necessary for good reasons and added that she had previously been unaware of many of the things that were in the Mueller report because she had gotten her information about it from Fox News. While this is anecdotal evidence, it is a hopeful sign that Amash is having even a small impact and that other Republicans will pay attention and have the courage to speak out as well.

I’m not optimistic though.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Paul L. says:

    I am now convinced. Trump should be Impeached.

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  2. Mister Bluster says:

    I am now convinced. Trump should be Impeached.

    No you’re not. Stop lying.

  3. drj says:

    @Paul L.:

    Thanks for the link.

    “No hoax, no witch-hunt, no coup and no exoneration” has quite a nice ring to it.

    And you can’t really argue against it, can you? Not without some crazy, convoluted conspiracy crap, at least.

  4. Paul L. says:

    @drj:
    Oppo research fiction Steele Dossier that falsely claimed there is a Russian Consulate in Miami used to get a FISA warrant to illegally spy on Trump campaign.

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  5. Kathy says:

    Amash has got to be the loneliest guy in DC.

  6. mattbernius says:

    Man, if there was only a clearly explained reason why, despite clearly laying out evidence for Obstruction of Justice, Mueller chose not to indict a sitting president for obstruction…

    “The introduction to the Volume II of our report explains that decision. It explains that under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. A special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”

    I have completely no idea why he would do such a thing.

    Or that there was an explanation of why, if you cannot indict, you might chose not directly accuse someone of committing a crime.

    And beyond department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially — it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.

    Those were the principles under which we operated. And from them, we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.

    And man, if only the hallowed founding fathers had envisioned an alternative process to indictment to handle such a situation and enshrined it in a document that true originalist patriots love and gird themselves.

    And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.

    Too bad no one ever clearly laid any of that out. Like ever.

  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    You further prove your ignorance with every single comment that you type.
    It is clear that neither you, nor the clown that wrote the opinion you linked to understand;
    1. what an Intelligence Dossier is
    2. FISA warrants
    3. the findings of the Mueller Report
    It always amuses me that people like you, with virtually no understanding of a topic, will hold incredibly strong and unwavering opinions regarding those topics.
    I suppose that’s what makes people like you so easily manipulated, and so willing to join cults.

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  8. gVOR08 says:

    Wake me up when there are three GOPs who haven’t or aren’t retiring (and I’m not sure about Amash), and including at least one Senator, who support impeachment. I’m beginning to feel like the Amash story is more about the desperation of the supposedly liberal MSM to find a moderate, reasonable GOP to replace McCain than it’s about anything else.

    As I said on the Mueller thread, Ds need to get away from ‘do we impeach or do we not impeach’ to ‘Those asshat GOPs in the Senate have decided they’ll back Trump no matter what the evidence says.’ And ‘Mueller said Trump needs to be impeached, but the GOP senators won’t do it.’

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: You are absolutely correct. Everything FOX “News” and Breitbart and all the rest of them are saying is nonsense. But of course Trump and his minions are counting on the average voter not knowing anything about

    1. what an Intelligence Dossier is
    2. FISA warrants
    3. the findings of the Mueller Report

    and they’re probably right.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.: I’ve seemed to remember, perhaps falsely, that you used to provide some interesting commentary, so I wasted three minutes tracking down this consulate in Miami thing. Steele was quoting a Russian source. How could a Russian a Brit be so stupid as to think the Russian consulate in FL is in Miami when it’s really in Tampa. Do you guys really think this sort of trivial inconsistency is going to convince anyone who doesn’t really badly want to be convinced?

  11. Paul L. says:

    @gVOR08:
    I should use Fever swamps of Media Matters, Think Progress and MSNBC for my information like you.
    Those News agencies were all correct that Mueller was going to indict and convict Trump for Russian collusion/conspiracy/treason .

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  12. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: Please show where MSNBC ever claimed to have news of an indictment against Trump.

    You can’t, because it didn’t happen, and you are lying.

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  13. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’m beginning to feel like the Amash story is more about the desperation of the supposedly liberal MSM to find a moderate, reasonable GOP to replace McCain than it’s about anything else.

    Well, they ain’t gonna find any such thing in Amash. Apart from this one issue where he is inexplicably sane, he’s a complete waste of skin and breath. Congress does not need more Amashes.

  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    I should use Fever swamps of Media Matters, Think Progress and MSNBC for my information like you.

    You’re projecting again, Paul. Actual smart people don’t get all of their information from a few sources with a known bias. (And, for the record, MSNBC is the only one of those I’d ever heard of…)

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  15. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Well, they ain’t gonna find any such thing in Amash. Apart from this one issue where he is inexplicably sane, he’s a complete waste of skin and breath. Congress does not need more Amashes.

    Amash is bog-standard Republican on the vast majority of votes, but apparently puts country above party. I would happily replace most of the Republican Congress critters that we cannot replace with Democrats with people more like Amash.

  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    I should use Fever swamps of Media Matters, Think Progress and MSNBC for my information like you.

    It’s no one’s business who, or what, you read or watch.
    But the fact is that every comment you type is factually incorrect and/or logically faulty.
    So…if you had an ounce of self-awareness you would question your sources of information.

  17. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    Amash is bog-standard Republican on the vast majority of votes

    Which is to say, actively evil. Evil may be the new normal, but it’s still evil.

    but apparently puts country above party.

    No — he puts personal brand over party brand. Country has nothing to do with it; if it did, he would vote differently on many different topics.