Amash noted as only Republican who asked Cohen ‘a real question’

Justin Amash | Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

While most Republicans filled the role of blocking and tackling for President Trump at the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday featuring his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash took a different tack.

Michael Cohen (C), President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney | Yana Paskova, Getty Images

The West Michigan congressman and Freedom Caucus member was the lone GOP co-sponsor of the resolution blocking Trump’s emergency border wall declaration in a Tuesday vote in the U.S. House. Amash also was one of 13 Republicans to vote for the measure, along with one other Michigan congressman, Fred Upton of St. Joseph. The resolution passed the Democratic-led House, but faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled Senate.

As a member of the massive Oversight Committee, Amash also broke with his fellow Republicans on Wednesday and asked Cohen about the president and his business dealings. Other GOP members attacked Cohen’s credibility and sought to defend Trump.

The national liberal publication Talking Points Memo ran a story on Amash titled, “After Three Hours, One GOP Rep. Broke Ranks And Asked Cohen A Real Question.”

Amash asked: “Mr. Cohen, I don’t know whether we should believe you today, but I’m going to ask you this one last question: what is the truth that you know President Trump fears most?”

Cohen replied: “That’s a tough question, sir. I don’t have an answer for that one.”

Amash’s interest in wringing real information out of Cohen also was observed by reporters at other outlets, including the New York Times, Buzzfeed News and Toronto Star. Here was Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake’s take on Twitter:

In his seven-and-a-half hour testimony, Cohen called Trump a “racist,” “conman” and a “cheat.”

As the Advance reported, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) brought in Lynne Patton, a regional administrator at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Meadows made the cases that since Patton is African-American, that means Trump isn’t racist.

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) responded: “To prop up one member of our race and to say that nullifies it is totally insulting.

“I just want to put on the record, as being a Black American and having endured the public comments of racism from the sitting president, as being a Black person, I can only imagine what’s being said in private,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence received kudos from several progressive activists on social media and responded, “Just doing my job.”

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) also went after Meadows for his stunt.

“Just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them does not mean they aren’t racist,” she said.

Meadows demanded that Tlaib’s comment be stricken from the record and was insulted at the implication that he was racist, the Daily Beast reported. He added that his nieces and nephews are “people of color.”

Tlaib said she’s known as “being pretty direct,” but apologized.

“To my colleague, Mr. Meadows, that was not my intention,” Tlaib said. “And I do apologize if that’s what it sounded like. But I said ‘someone’ in general.”

Reuters reporter Ginger Gibson summed up one of the last moments of the hearing.

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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