Amash explains no vote on enforcing subpoenas against Trump administration officials

    President Donald Trump, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence looking on, delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

    U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Twp.) sided with his party Tuesday on a resolution to make it easier to pursue legal action against President Donald Trump administration officials who defy congressional subpoenas.

    Justin Amash | Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

    Although Amash split with the GOP in his call for Trump’s impeachment, the West Michigan lawmaker voted with his colleagues against a U.S. House resolution to allow committee leaders to file lawsuits to enforce subpoenas without a full House vote — so long as they also have the OK of a bipartisan group of House leaders.

    Michigan’s congressional delegation was split 7-7 on whether to support the subpoena measure, as the Michigan Advance reported.

    Trump has promised to fight “all the subpoenas.”

    U.S. House votes to take Trump subpoena fights to court

    Amash defended his position in a series of tweets Tuesday. He argued that the resolution “unfortunately shifts to leadership the power to authorize future enforcement lawsuits, further centralizing the House’s authority and undermining the institution.”

    Amash said that U.S. House rules don’t clearly spell out whether a vote is required to authorize lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

    The U.S. House resolution would allow lawsuits against them to proceed, and passed 229-191 along party lines on Tuesday.

    Both Trump administration officials have fought against subpoenas related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian election interference probe, issued by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

    Previously, Amash resigned from the House Freedom Caucus, which he helped start, after he called for Trump’s impeachment.

    He has voted against his party more than any other U.S. House member, as the Advance reported.

    Michael Gerstein
    Michael Gerstein covers the governor’s office, criminal justice and the environment. Before that, he wrote about state government and politics for the Detroit News, the Associated Press and MIRS News and won a Society of Professional Journalism award for open government reporting. He studied philosophy at Michigan State University, where he wrote for both The State News and Capital News Service. He began his journalism career freelancing for The Sturgis Journal, his hometown paper.

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