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.
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:
How about that: Republican Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) is actually asking Cohen about the substance of his allegations and trying to get information out of him!
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 27, 2019
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.”
Just doing my job 💅🏾 https://t.co/5o872fg2n5
— Brenda Lawrence (@BrendaLLawrence) February 27, 2019
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.
So Tlaib called Meadows a racist. Then Meadows got outraged. Then Tlaib said she wasn't talking about Meadows, but "someone." And then Meadows accepted her apology. And that's how this hearing is going to end.
— Ginger Gibson (@GingerGibson) February 27, 2019