Last week, Representative Justin Amash made news by stating that he had read the full Mueller Report and concluded that Donald Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct.” Trump and the GOP immediately took to attacking Amash as a liberal and dismissed his statement. For example, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated: “It’s sad to see Congressman Amash parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia. The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of President Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible.”
Amash is part of the Freedom Caucus and no liberal or RINO. In part of his long Twitter thread on Saturday, Amash laid out these bullet points: “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.”
He is right on those points. But we should not expect a massive outpouring of Republican support for impeachment in Congress, and more importantly, it is not needed. Other than giving some cover that an impeachment would be “bipartisan,” the Constitution is very clear when it comes to the impeachment process. The House, by a simple majority, can adopt an article of impeachment. The House then appoints members to manage the ensuing Senate trial, and the Senate is the trier of the proceedings, with the Chief Justice presiding over the hearings. To convict or remove a president, the Senate must do it by a two-thirds supermajority vote.
Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler have a House majority to impeach Trump, if they move down that path, before it goes to the Senate. At the moment, the party of one Republican in Amash is not a bad thing, but it is a distraction from the bigger question of whether the House will begin to move toward impeachment hearings to determine whether articles of impeachment against Trump are a go.