With Tlaib and Amash, Michigan becomes epicenter of Trump impeachment fight

Justin Amash (left) and Rashida Tlaib (right) | photos by Gage Skidmore and Andrew Roth

There are now 24 Democrats on board with impeaching President Donald Trump — a little more than 10 percent of the 235-member U.S. House majority.

But Michigan stands apart in being home to supporters from both parties in U.S. Reps. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Twp.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), who are both attorneys.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash town hall in Grand Rapids, March 18, 2019 | Nick Manes

Amash, a frequent Trump critic, still sent shockwaves through Washington when he unleashed a tweetstorm over the weekend after finishing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s 2016 election interference. He became the first Republican to call for the president’s impeachment.

So far, no Republicans have followed suit and many, including Trump himself, have lambasted Amash for disloyalty.

Amash hasn’t backed down, despite being formally condemned by the Freedom Caucus, which he co-founded. He also quickly earned two 2020 primary challengers and has reportedly been financially cut off from some of his biggest donors, the billionaire DeVos family.

On Tuesday, Amash defiantly told a group of eight-graders on a Capitol field trip, “Don’t let people convince you that principles only matter when the outcome is in your favor. Principles matter especially, and really only, when the outcome is not in your favor.”

Tlaib has led the impeachment fight, first with her colorful post-swearing-in comments and followed by her March introduction of legislation to “hold [Trump] accountable” and investigate impeachable actions.

In her “Dear Colleague” letter to round up support, Tlaib cites several issues to investigate, including Trump’s possible violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause with his business dealings, allegedly illegal payments to women during the 2016 election, and Mueller’s obstruction of justice evidence.

President Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. | Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian, Flickr

The U.S. House Democratic leadership has been cautious on the issue and focused on winning in 2020, as many have pointed out the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate will never turn on Trump.

However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said the president is engaged in a “cover-up” and warned earlier this month, “Every day he’s obstructing justice.” Many political observers have described Pelosi as “slow-walking” impeachment.

That may have something to do with the fact that several swing-district Democrats have been reticent. Freshman U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) told the Advance this week that Democrats need to be “judicious” about impeachment and she “doesn’t want to lose focus” on the other part of Congress’ job, which is legislating “things that help people’s lives.”

Despite these concerns, support for an impeachment inquiry has picked up steam in the caucus, with new progressive leader U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) this week endorsing proceedings.

U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the New York Women’s March | Dimitri Rodriguez, Flickr

Following Amash’s impeachment comments, Tlaib tweeted: “[C]ome find me in 1628 Longworth. I’ve got an impeachment investigation resolution you’re going to want to cosponsor.”

The Advance asked Tlaib spokesman Denzel McCampbell on Wednesday about the status of that resolution and if she has had any talks with Amash on co-sponsoring it.

“As of right now, I’m not sure if the Congresswoman has had any discussions with Rep. Amash about the resolution, but we continue to hear from colleagues in the House,” McCampell said. “Just today Rep. [Diana] DeGette (D-Colo.) signed on – this is in addition to other members signaling that an inquiry is needed. As more Congress members hear from their constituents and take a look into the lawlessness of this President, we’re sure they’ll be even more traction moving toward an investigation.”

U.S. Capitol | Creative Commons

The other Dems who back impeachment are: U.S. Reps. Al Green of Texas, Maxine Waters of California, Val Demings of Florida, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, Ted Lieu of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Veronica Escobar of Texas, Jared Huffman of California, Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, Joe Neguse of Colorado, Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania, Jackie Speier of California, and Don Beyer of Virginia.

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Susan J. Demas is an 18-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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