A Good Start

The first Republican member of Congress has come out for impeaching Donald Trump:

Republican Congressman Justin Amash has broken with the Republican Party line to declare that President Trump has “engaged in impeachable conduct.” He also accuses Attorney General William Barr of attempting “to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.” President Trump has responded calling Amash a “lightweight” and a “loser.”

Amash, who represents a Michigan district anchored by Grand Rapids, leans libertarian in his political orientation. He is the first prominent GOP officeholder to suggest that Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice and undermine the rule of law merit his removal from office. Indeed, Amash’s call for impeachment puts him out ahead of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash writes. The congressman used a Twitter thread Saturday to broadcast his views, “only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff.”

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.

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019

In his thread, Amash offered choice criticism for Barr in his execution of his duties as America’s top law enforcement officer.

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.

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019

Amash spends much of his thread warning America about adherence to party over our constitutional system of checks and balances, while making a subtle jab at fellow conservatives who sought to impeach Bill Clinton for obstruction of justice, but have remained silent in the face of Trump’s lawlessness:

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.

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019

Trump’s response, by Twitter (of course) , is to call Amash a lightweight and a loser.

I do not think that this is pebbles before an avalanche, but it does provide a slight gloss of bipartisanship to the movement toward impeachment.

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