"In fact, [special counsel Robert] 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."
-- Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.
Only Nixon could go to China. Only someone like Rep. Justin Amash could call for the president's impeachment without being easily painted as partisan.
Amash's statements through Twitter on Saturday -- -- stand out for their simple, direct clarity. Personally speaking, I do not support impeachment yet. My reasons are not worth going into today. But the reactions Amash triggered are interesting.
Consider Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Coach Jim is the president's chief would-be bodyguard in the House. The Freedom Caucus, which Jordan used to lead and Amash helped create, condemned Amash's declaration. Jordan and his ilk believe any procedural flaw, real or imagined, in the warrants approved for the investigation by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court is much more important than what the investigation found out.
Jordan said, as quoted by The Hill: "What concerns me is Justin was viewed as a leader, right, on protecting privacy rights first to First Amendment rights. We had a press conference like a year ago with [Sen.] Rand Paul, Sen. [Ron] Wyden all on concerns about civil liberties and how the FISA court operates and what can happen in this whole, you know, this whole area, and now Justin's on the other side, and I just don't understand that."
Why yes, Rep. Jordan. That such a stickler for legality who is a passionate conservative disagrees with you is remarkable. Quite so.
Perhaps Amash read the investigation report, is familiar with the history behind it and is convinced by the evidence that the investigation was fully justified and its results are serious. Or perhaps Amash still holds deep concerns about how the investigation began, but is convinced impeachment is justified anyway. Perhaps Amash holds to the old-fashioned notion about how two wrongs do not make a right.
Perhaps Jordan and the rest of the president's Congressional cheering section strain at gnats while Amash refuses to swallow a camel.
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, is quoted in the same Hill article: "You look at it, no one's been a stronger voice on the potential abuses of FISA than Amash ... So to look at that and see him take the position he is , I mean, it's shocking." Amash's tweeting was "another thing he didn't really talk to the group about it."
I commend Amash for not talking to that group about it. Too many congressmen ask their group what to think already.
Amash, it seems, meant what he said over the years about constitutional principles and believes those should apply to everyone.
Amash even annoyed liberals. Democrat leadership is embarrassed at a hard-core conservative calling them out for not starting impeachment already. Meanwhile, Amash's political detractors are vexed by his sudden fame for standing on principle. One annoyed voter said on Twitter she would vote for a "sea cucumber" for Congress before she would vote for Amash.
The best political ulterior motive anyone has yet proposed on why Amash would do this is that he may run for president as a Libertarian. Perhaps he will. OK. Torching a congressional career by defying the president and the rest of your party for the sake of boosting a possible Libertarian presidential run is like quitting your job because you plan to buy a lottery ticket.
Amash will be smeared for this. The president's defenders always go after his critics' credibility, even though a credibility contest is not something this president can win.
Dismissing the investigation of the president as a "witch hunt" requires believing the Democrats, the FBI, KGB alumnus Vladimir Putin, the president's personal fixer and members of the White House staff who gave sworn testimony all conspired together to frame the president. Hey, just for fun, say they did. Suppose all this is a Deep State masterpiece.
The president took the bait.
You cannot cheat an honest man. Likewise, you cannot smear someone for obstruction if he is not willing to, for instance, order his White House lawyer to fabricate a second set of notes to get the story straight. You do not publicly tweet repeatedly about how your first attorney general should never have recused from the investigation. You do not lie repeatedly about trying to work a deal for a hotel in Moscow.
When sending someone to fight the Deep State, send someone who knows how.
Commentary on 05/25/2019
Print Headline: Nixon, China and Justin Amash