By David Weigel and John Wagner | Washington Post
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rep. Justin Amash, the sole congressional Republican to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, took aim at Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday, saying that he had deliberately misrepresented key aspects of special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report “to further the president’s false narrative about the investigation.”
In more than two dozen tweets, Amash of Michigan detailed multiple objections to how Barr had handled Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, starting with a memo to Congress in late March that summarized Mueller’s key findings and relayed that he decided not to pursue obstruction-of-justice charges against Trump.
“Barr has so far successfully used his position to sell the president’s false narrative to the American people,” Amash said in the final tweet of his thread. “This will continue if those who have read the report do not start pushing back on his misrepresentations and share the truth.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Amash’s tweets came just hours before he held his first town hall meeting in his Michigan district since declaring on May 18 that Trump had “engaged in impeachable conduct” and becoming a pariah among his GOP colleagues.
The Associated Press reports that Amash spoke to hundreds of people Tuesday night in Grand Rapids. Many gave him a standing ovation, but some of his former supporters expressed their anger with him.
Amash says if people read special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Trump’s conduct during and after the 2016 presidential election, they will be “appalled.” He says “we can’t let conduct like that go unchecked.”
Amash says he is not worried about losing re-election over his stance on Trump and says the president fared worse in his district than he did.
Amash is already facing two primary challengers, and one of them, state Rep. Jim Lower, told The Washington Post that he raised $60,000 in his first eight days as a candidate. In an interview, Lower said he had not read Mueller’s report but agreed with the assessment of most Republicans that it ended questions about Trump’s conduct.
“Clearly the congressman is going to try to justify his impeachment position to the district tonight,” Lower said in a text message. “I don’t expect it to be well received with Republican primary voters. Those voters do not want the President to be impeached and they disagree with the Congressman’s conclusion. Throughout this primary campaign, I will be the voice for those voters!”
Amash’s initial tweets on impeachment drew the wrath of Trump, who said last week that the congressman has “been a loser for a long time.” Privately, Trump vented to associates about the Michigan lawmaker, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Amash, 39, has long been uniquely comfortable breaking with his party, citing his libertarian principles in regularly opposing GOP leaders on votes ranging from spending bills to the routine approval of the daily House journal.
Last week, the wealthy DeVos family said through a spokesman that it was cutting off financial support for Amash. The Michigan-based family, which made its fortune running Amway, decided to stop donating to Amash before his most recent comments about the president, DeVos family spokesman Nick Wasmiller said in a statement.
“Family members have expressed increasing concerns about a lack of representation for their district, the Third Congressional, and I would say an inability to advance efforts connected to important policy matters,” he said.
In his tweets Tuesday, Amash took issue with the rationale Barr offered for not indicting Trump on obstruction charges before the Mueller report was publicly released.
“Mueller’s report says he chose not to decide whether Trump broke the law because there’s an official [Department of Justice] opinion that indicting a sitting president is unconstitutional, and because of concerns about impacting the president’s ability to govern and pre-empting possible impeachment,” Amash wrote.
“Barr’s letter doesn’t mention those issues when explaining why Mueller chose not to make a prosecutorial decision,” he continued. “He instead selectively quotes Mueller in a way that makes it sound – falsely – as if Mueller’s decision stemmed from legal/factual issues specific to Trump’s actions. But, in fact, Mueller finds considerable evidence that several of Trump’s actions detailed in the report meet the elements of obstruction.”
Amash also took issue with Barr’s declaration at a subsequent news conference that Mueller had found “no collusion” between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Barr implied that the investigation was “baseless,” Amash wrote.
“In truth, Mueller’s report describes concerning contacts between members of Trump’s campaign and people in or connected to the Russian government,” Amash wrote. “It’s wrong to suggest that the fact that Mueller did not choose to indict anyone for this means there wasn’t a basis to investigate whether it amounted to a crime or ‘collusion,’ or whether it was in fact part of Russia’s efforts to help Trump’s candidacy.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.