Trump calls Amash loser, questions loyalties after impeachment tweets

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
"Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment," Amash wrote.

Washington — President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at the Michigan congressman who said Trump “has engaged in impeachable conduct.”

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, who represents the Grand Rapids area, on Saturday became the first Republican in Congress to break with Trump on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

“Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy,” Trump tweeted.

“If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, ‘composed’ by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump,....he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION... Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side? Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!”

Amash said in a series of tweets Saturday that he had finished reading the entire redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.

Read more: Michigan's Amash calls Trump conduct 'impeachable'

"Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment," Amash wrote. 

"In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence."

Mueller concluded there was no criminal conspiracy between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

He left open the question of whether Trump obstructed Mueller’s investigation, and Attorney General Bill Barr later said the evidence didn’t warrant bringing obstruction charges against Trump.

Amash said partisanship has eroded Congress’ role of checks and balances and suggested few members of Congress have read the full report.

“Their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation," he wrote.

Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he disagreed with Amash because Romney doesn’t believe Mueller made a sufficient case for obstruction of justice to justify impeachment.

“I respect him. I think it's a courageous statement,” Romney said. “But I believe that to make a case for obstruction of justice, you just don't have the elements that are evidenced in this document.”

In an interview on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy dismissed Amash’s comments as an attempt to get national attention and dismissed his seriousness.

“He votes more with (Democratic House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me,” McCarthy said. “It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole.”

In response to Amash's comments Saturday, GOP state Rep. Jim Lower implied he would jump into the race:

“This cannot go unchallenged! I support @realDonaldTrump, I support West Michigan values, I support our party's values and I will have a major announcement regarding MI CD3 this week!” Lower tweeted.

Laura Cox, chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, called Amash's remarks "shameful." 

“While President Trump’s leadership has led to the strongest economy in a generation, Justin Amash has opposed his ‘America First’ agenda every step of the way," Cox tweeted. 

"Now in a desperate attempt to grab headlines and advance his own presidential ambitions, Amash is peddling a narrative that has repeatedly been proven false."

Amash has long eschewed partisan loyalties and been a thorn in the side of party leaders.

He said earlier this year he had not ruled out running for president as Libertarian. 

"Amash has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and he’s been one of the more persistent Trump critics in the party," said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

"I do wonder if Amash will have any primary trouble. Democrats should try to find a decent candidate there regardless — the district definitely leans right but is sneakily competitive."

Kondik said Kent County, where Grand Rapids is located, will be an important weathervane in the 2020 presidential and Senate races in Michigan. 

"It seems to be trending Democratic, even as much of the rest of the state outside the Detroit metro is trending the other way," he added.