Republicans are beginning to talk of the possibility that President Trump could face impeachment after reports that he pressed ousted FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
While Republicans are choosing their words carefully, the fact that impeachment is even being mentioned is notable in Washington’s polarized political environment.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on Wednesday said if the reports about Trump’s pressure on Comey are true, it would merit impeachment.
Amash spoke a day after The New York Times on Tuesday reported that Trump tried to pressure Comey to stop investigating Flynn.
According to a memo written by Comey after the February meeting, the president told Comey “I hope you can let this go.”
Asked by The Hill if the details in the memo would merit impeachment if they’re true, Amash replied: “Yes.”
“But everybody gets a fair trial in this country,” Amash added as he left a House GOP conference meeting.
Asked by another reporter whether he trusted Comey’s word or Trump’s, Amash said: “I think it’s pretty clear I have more confidence in Director Comey.”
Amash is one of only two House Republicans to cosponsor a Democratic bill to establish an independent commission to investigate Russia’s role in the election. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has also endorsed the legislation.
Jones suggested in an interview with The Hill on Wednesday that the allegations in the Comey memo could lead to a push for impeachment proceedings.
“I don’t know at this point,” Jones said if the allegations could be grounds for impeachment proceedings. But he added: “I think legal scholars will probably start giving the justification of whether the House should or should not move forward on impeachment.”
In an interview late Tuesday night with CNN’s Don Lemon, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) compared Trump allegedly pressuring Comey to drop the Flynn investigation to the obstruction of justice cases that led to impeachment proceedings for former presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
“Obstruction of justice in the case of Nixon, in the case of Clinton in the late 90s, has been considered an impeachable offense,” Curbelo said.
Curbelo called for Comey to testify before Congress to provide a full explanation of his conversations with Trump.
“It may be something very serious, it may be nothing,” Curbelo said.
Neither of the Republicans brought up impeachment on their own, but both acknowledged it was now a possibility depending on further developments.
The White House has said the Comey memo misstates the nature of Trump’s conversation with the former FBI director.
Neither Amash nor Curbelo voted for Trump, and both have frequently criticized him.
They also represent different factions in the House GOP conference.
Amash is a libertarian-leaning member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, while Curbelo is a centrist in a district won by Hillary Clinton in last year’s election.
Flynn was ousted as Trump’s national security adviser in February after it was revealed he misled the public and top White House officials about about his communications with a Russian ambassador regarding sanctions.
Amash, a frequent conservative critic of the Trump administration, has broken with the White House on a variety of issues, including healthcare reform and the Justice Department’s new tougher sentencing guidelines.
Source: Cristina Marcos, The Hill