Why Republicans Should Join The Democrats Calling For Impeachment

Justin Amash became one of the first Republican officials to suggest that Donald Trump's recent actions - as described in former FBI Director James Comey's memo - would merit impeachment if they were true.

It's no surprise that Amash, R-Cascade Township, is continuing to take a hard line on Trump.

Lawfare Blog, a site featuring posts by prominent attorneys and associated with the Brookings Institute, notes that "the longstanding position of the Executive Branch is that the sitting President cannot be prosecuted" so "the immediate question is not whether this pattern of behavior-or any individual component of it-could support a prosecution and criminal conviction for obstruction of justice". So the question then is whether the House of Representatives would then regard this as being a high crime or a misdemeanor.

Amash and Michigan's five Democrats in the House have co-sponsored legislation calling for a nonpartisan, independent commission to investigate Russian interference in the election.

Amash is typically a stickler for Congress following what's known as regular order, with hearings and amendment procedures being followed.

Comey wrote the memo after he met in the Oval Office with Trump, the day after the president fired Flynn on February 14 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his conversations a year ago with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador in Washington, DC.

And at the same time, at least one previously loyal Republican member of the House also mentioned impeachment, though in a much more reserved manner.

President Donald Trump continued to criticize a decision by the Justice Department to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel in the agency's investigation into Russian Federation on Thursday, saying "it hurts this country terribly".

Republicans in Congress are trying to project a business-as-usual approach amid the chaos.

"The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations", said the statement. Then, Comey would need to testify, as the Senate Intelligence Committee has just invited him to do. While that alone raised many, many eyebrows, the allegation that Trump pressured Comey to ease up on Flynn is, as the New York Times described it, "the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump's associates and Russian Federation".

Trump often speaks in hyperbolic language, however, which means he may not have necessarily expected Comey to ever imprison members of the press, despite what sounds like a rather frightening suggestion.

When Trump fired Comey, he said he did so based on Comey's very public handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and how it affected his leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Indeed, as US president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that such disclosures broke the law.

Though Republican lawmakers have so far generally backed Trump, a new mood was evident on Capitol Hill, a Politico report commented.

But a leading U.S. Republican politician said he would have little faith in any notes Putin might supply.

But Colorado U.S. Sen. "What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command", he said in a statement.

President Trump fired Comey last week following which the administration officials provided multiple, conflicting accounts of the reasoning behind the dismissal.

As the controversy swirled, Trump said in a speech to US Coast Guard Academy graduates in CT he did not get elected "to serve the Washington media or special interests".