The Reaction To Justin Amash Reveals Just How Far Gone The GOP Is Today
Justin Amash's call for impeachment of the President, and the Republican Party's reaction to it, is telling us a lot about the current state of the GOP.
Michigan Congressman Justin Amash’s decision to come forward and speak out in favor of the impeachment of the President, which I’ve detailed here, here, and here, so far the only Republican in Congress to do so, has done more than anything else to point out the extent to which the Republican Party has debased itself in the Trump era. As I’ve already noted, Amash’s position stands in sharp contrast to those of nearly all of his Republican colleagues, most of whom have remained silent about the contents of the Mueller report and many of whom have parroted the false White House claim that the report exonerates the President.
The most sympathetic comments from the Republican side of the aisle regard Amash’s charges have come from Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who called Amash “courageous,” but who nonetheless stated that he didn’t believe that the Mueller report in and of itself was sufficient grounds for impeachment. Other Republicans, such as RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Romney’s niece, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have condemned Amash’s remarks. Additionally, the so-called House Freedom Caucus, which Amash co-founded when he entered Congress in 2011, voted to condemn Amash for his statements and slavishly backed the President. More recently, Senator Rand Paul, allegedly a libertarian like Amash, declined to back the Congressman and instead backed the President as he has repeatedly over the past two years:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) broke with his fellow libertarian-leaning lawmaker Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on impeachment Wednesday.
Paul told HuffPost in an interview that special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was the “antithesis of libertarianism.”
“I actually think the libertarian position on the investigation is ― you know, libertarians, we’ve been very, very critical of the intelligence community having too much power, including congressman Amash has said, you know, really you should have to get a warrant before you get an American’s records,” Paul told the outlet.
Amash this week became the first Republican in the House to support impeachment proceedings against President Trump based on the results of Mueller’s report.
He tweeted Saturday that “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.”
Senator Paul, of course, used to be a harsh critic of Trump when he was running against him for the GOP nomination in 2016 but he has since turned into one of Trump’s biggest sycophants on Capitol Hill. With only a few minor and largely inconsequential occasions, Paul has fallen in line with party orthodoxy regarding the President and his policies even when doing so clearly violates the libertarian principles that Paul claimed in past campaigns for office were his lodestar. In that respect, of course, he’s not much different from most of the rest of the Senate GOP, which is why its not surprising to see the Senate GOP says, even before the House has opened an impeachment inquiry, that it would seek to dispose of the required trial as quickly as possible if Articles of Impeachment are approved by the House.
Needless to say, this would not be the case if a Democrat were President and the GOP continued to control the Senate. We can see the evidence for that in the fact that Republicans in the House and Senate went forward with rather absurd investigations of President Obama during his time in office even after it became clear after numerous investigations into Fast & Furious, the IRS, and the Benghazi attack that there was no evidence of wrongdoing of any kind. Additionally, even before the election was decided in 2016 Republicans were saying that they intended to open investigations into a hypothetical Clinton Administration from the day it took office. With a Republican in the White House, any semblance of caring about the Rule of Law is out the window.
You could, of course, ascribe all of this to simple partisan politics. After all, if Democrats controlled the Senate when a Democratic President was impeached it’s likely that they would rally behind him or her as Republicans are doing here. This is more than just simple partisan politics, though.
The allegations against the President arising out of the Mueller Report alone are, notwithstanding the efforts of the President and his sycophants to spin it otherwise, serious and require further investigation. The same is true regarding Michael Cohen’s claim that he and the President acted together to violate Federal election laws by paying off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to remain quiet in advance of the 2016 election, and the ongoing investigations into the Trump Foundation and the President’s business records. Finally the Trump Administration’s decision to stonewall all requests for documents and witnesses regardless of applicable law, something shockingly similar to the stonewalling that made up the charges in the third Article of Impeachment against Richard Nixon. Given all of that, the fact that Republicans are looking the other way and clearly have already made up their minds on this issue is an abdication of their Constitutional responsibility.
This is especially glaring given the fact that Republicans like to claim that they are the party that respects the Constitution and the Rule of Law. In the 2 1/2 years that Donald Trump has been President, though, they have made clear that neither is true. The President has proposed and tried to enact numerous policy ideas that are clearly beyond his the authority granted to him, and yet they support him. He has shown his contempt for the Rule of Law in his efforts to undermine the Russia investigation and use the Justice Department as his own personal law firm, and yet they support him. He has shown his contempt for Freedom of the Press and attacked legitimate criticism of his action as “Fake News,” and yet they support him. And now, as we stand on the precipice of a Constitutional crisis initiated by this President, they continue to support him. The hypocrisy and corruption of whatever it is the Republican Party and so-called “conservatism” used to stand for is complete, and they are now complicit in his crimes.
There’s still time for individual Republicans to speak out against this President like Amash has done and save their integrity, but that time is limited. If they remain silent for much longer then they will go down in history as enablers of Trump’s corruption and duplicity.