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.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Law and the Courts, Politicians, 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. Stormy Dragon says:

    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.

    I’m reminded of the Yes, Minister series, where referring to a political proposal as “courageous” was considered the worst condemnation possible.

  2. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: for Americans who don’t know, Yes, Minister was a British comedy about the Deep State.

  3. Paul L. says:

    I remember these same talking points being said about “credibly accused” Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

    2
    22
  4. Paul L. says:

    So Libertarians Justin Amash and Doug Mataconis now believes nobody has the 5th Amendment right to refuse to talk to Law Enforcement. It is obstruction.

    Ultimately, the special counsel “recogniz[ed] that the President would not be interviewed voluntarily” and chose not to subpoena him because of concerns that the resulting “potentially lengthy constitutional litigation” would delay completion of the investigation.

    The president instead gave written answers to questions submitted by the special counsel. Those answers are often incomplete or unresponsive. Mueller found them “inadequate” and again sought to interview the president.

    The report says the president’s counsel was told that interviewing him was “vital” to Mueller’s investigation and that it would be in the interest of the public and the presidency. Still Trump refused.

    Barr says the White House “fully cooperated” with the investigation and that Mueller “never sought” or “pushed” to get more from the president, but the report says Mueller unsuccessfully sought an interview with the president for over a year.

    2
    26
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.: Each and every one of them has that right. Not one of them has invoked it. I guess you missed that part.

    19
  6. Teve says:

    “The mob takes the Fifth,” Trump said at one campaign rally in September 2017. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”

    14
  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    So Libertarians Justin Amash and Doug Mataconis now believes nobody has the 5th Amendment right to refuse to talk to Law Enforcement.

    Please link to a credible source indicating that the POTUS, or his greaseball kid, has invoked his
    5th Amendment Rights.
    Maroon….

    15
  8. Hal_10000 says:

    Paul has turned out to be a colossal disappointment on this front (as well as others). This quote:

    “you should have to get a warrant before you get an American’s records”

    is mindlessly stupid. They *did* have a warrant.

    20
  9. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.:

    So Libertarians Justin Amash and Doug Mataconis now believes nobody has the 5th Amendment right to refuse to talk to Law Enforcement. It is obstruction.

    The obstruction was the efforts to shut down the investigation, directing people to lie, etc.

    Do try to keep up. Maybe read the report and see whether not voluntarily sitting down to chat with the Mueller team is cited as one of the roughly dozen documented cases of likely obstruction*.

    You’re a dishonest nitwit, which is really the worst kind of nitwit.

    ——
    *: Likely, rather than definitively, as he has yet to be prosecuted and convicted. The next President will have some hard decisions to make.

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: Also, out of curiosity, why are you quoting the part that demonstrates that Barr is lying?

    Barr says the White House “fully cooperated” with the investigation and that Mueller “never sought” or “pushed” to get more from the president, but the report says Mueller unsuccessfully sought an interview with the president for over a year.

    Should we just assume that you are a sloppy, dishonest nitwit, or is this going to become a new talking point on the right — it’s all Barr’s fault.

    Time will tell, I suppose.

    18
  11. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    “the special counsel “recogniz[ed] that the President would not be interviewed voluntarily”
    No person … shall be compelled to be a witness against himself;

    1
    13
  12. MarkedMan says:

    People have the right not to testify in a criminal trial. Say a police officer refuses to say anything about a shooting. That cannot be held against them in a criminal trial. But it would certainly be grounds for firing them.

    Say a president refuses to say anything under oath about colluding with the Russians. That cannot be held against him in a criminal trial. But it is certainly grounds to impeach him, try him in the Senate, and through his traitorous ass out. At which point he can be charged with the crimes he committed.

    12
  13. Scott F. says:

    Doug says:

    If they remain silent for much longer then they will go down in history as enablers of Trump’s corruption and duplicity.

    … which means they will be regarded as heroes by nitwits like Paul L.

  14. Paine says:

    Trump cultists are devoid of morals, principles, and integrity. Complete scumbags every last one of them…

  15. Guarneri says:

    The slobbering reaction to the comments of an almost singular, rogue, serial self promoting politician reflect the bizarre thinking patterns of Doug Mataconis.

    There, fixed it for you.

    BTW – how is your trust in Avennatti doing these days?

    13
  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    How’s your answer to this simple question:

    Why does Trump refuse to have any other American present when he meets with Putin?

    Avenatti is not POTUS, Trump is, and he’s a criminal, and a traitor, and you know it but lack the integrity to face it.

    14
  17. Teve says:

    TRUMP 2020-
    YOU CAN’T FORCE HIM TO ADMIT GUILT!

  18. Guarneri says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Poor Michael. You called Trump Putin’s Butt-boy. But you are Trumps kneepad boy. He just keeps winning. Swallow.

    Your question is worthy of a high school sophomore debater. How about this: why are Trumps Russia policies far more aggressive than Obama’s? Does Obama need some zircon encrusted tweezers?

    1
    12
  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    If it’s worthy of a high school debater how come you can’t answer it? Why so afraid, Drew?

    12
  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    How about this: why are Trumps Russia policies far more aggressive than Obama’s?

    The very premise of the question is wrong.

  21. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    Yes…we all know what the 5th Amendment is.
    Now link to where the POTUS, or his greaseball son has invoked it.
    Or, STFU.

    1
    1
  22. Franklin says:

    Amash is from my state although not my representative. Certainly I don’t agree with many of his policy positions, but for as long as he’s been in the public eye he’s been pretty consistent about his principles. Any Republican who disagrees with what Amash is saying here from a constitutional standpoint is a total hypocrite.

  23. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    DUE PROCESS! You only get to exercise Constitutional Rights if you invoke them?
    You are using the same legal reasoning as Judge Kearney in Fields v. City of Philadelphia that civilians have no First Amendment right to record the police unless they explicitly state they are invoking their First Amendment right.

    Judge Kearney was overturned by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

  24. Paul L. says:

    @Gustopher:
    Maybe you or Justin Amash should list the roughly dozen documented cases of likely obstruction in the Mueller report instead of saying that not cooperating with Law Enforcement is a crime.
    What does Barr’s “lying” about the Mueller report help impeach Trump?

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    Your 5th Amendment rights are very different than your 1st Amendment rights.
    You almost always have the Freedom of Speech afforded by the First.
    The 5th Amendment is a very narrow shield, which applies in very specific contexts; only as a witness, either in a criminal trial setting or while being interrogated by a member of the government, can this protection be invoked. Similar to Miranda rights.
    You’re grasping at straws to justify your fealty to the Comb-Over.
    Get over it.

  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:
  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:
    Robert Mueller: “If we had confidence that the president did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

    Not cleared, not even a little bit cleared. But you will observe that Mr. Mueller rigorously followed the law and DOJ policy. Your illegitimate president is a criminal.

  28. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The 5th Amendment is a very narrow shield, which applies in very specific contexts;

    Nope. see Garrity Rights.
    Of course, Garrity Rights is a special exception/right for the Law Enforcement Caste.

  29. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:
    The UVA Kappa Psi fraternity is guilt of gang rape.
    See Charlottesville Police: ‘No Evidence’ to Support UVA Rape Allegations

    “That doesn’t mean that something terrible did not happen to Jackie on the evening of September 28 2012. We are just not able to gather sufficient facts.”

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:
    There was insufficient evidence to charge Al Capone with bootlegging.

    Trump is guilty and you know that to be true. You know it. It’s unmistakable from the way you mount your ‘defense.’ You know Trump is an illegitimate president elected in large part by the GRU. Remember the Russians? Three years ago you’d have called them an enemy. But they got your cult leader elected so you turned on a dime. Why? Because you know Putin elected Trump and you are devoid of basic patriotism, let alone intellectual honesty or integrity.

    You’re a liar defending a traitor.

  31. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    Mueller just made a fool of you and all the other Fake Orange Tan Fanboi’s.

  32. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:
    That means nothing.
    Repeat after me;

    POTUS did not invoke his 5th Amendment Rights.