Lawmaker, breaking with GOP, accuses Trump of obstruction, impeachable conduct

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William Barr defends President Trump's comments on Mueller investigation

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Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., broke with his Republican colleagues on Saturday when he claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election meddling showed President Trump engaging in "impeachable conduct."

Attorney General William Barr, Amash argued, "deliberately misrepresented" that report in not emphasizing clear evidence of obstruction on Trump's part.

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"In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report," Amash said, "it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings."

Barr has, for weeks, faced criticism for allegedly shielding Trump through congressional testimony and his summary of the Mueller report. Although the report did not conclude that Trump committed obstruction or conspired with the Russians, its findings have fueled Democratic investigations and led some to call for impeachment.

Impeachment, Amash indicated, was appropriate even in the absence of probable cause or a formal indictment.

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"Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct," he said.

In another tweet, he referenced the constitutional language surrounding impeachment — "high crimes and misdemeanors" — as implying that the president only needs to violate public trust for Congress to consider his removal.

Amash concluded by lamenting both parties' apparent hypocrisy and inaction in responding to the Mueller investigation.

"Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation — and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release," he said.

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Some Democrats have expressed hesitation — or outright rejected — towards impeachment but others — like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — have boldly advanced that as an option.

While many have dismissed those calls as overreaction, Amash indicated that Congress wasn't pursuing impeachment as much as it should.

"While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct," he tweeted.

Amash appeared to be the only elected Republican seriously pushing impeachment. He's publicly criticized the president and indicated he was open to challenging Trump on a third-party ticket in 2020.

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Republicans and the administration have responded to Mueller's report by questioning the origins of what they suggested was an illegitimate investigation.

During an interview with Fox News, Barr vowed to uncover exactly what happened when the DOJ investigated Russian influence and the Trump campaign.

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