Amash: Trump Jr.’s email exchange ‘disturbing’

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GOP Rep. Justin Amash would like answers about Donald Trump Jr.’s decision last summer to talk with a “Russian government attorney” whom he believed could offer damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The oldest son of President Donald Trump met in June 2016 with the Kremlin-connected lawyer after an intermediary told him by email that the information he would be given was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded in part, “if it’s waht you say I love it.”

Amash, who represents the Grand Rapids area, said on Twitter early Wednesday that the implications of Trump Jr.’s email exchange are “serious and disturbing.”

“We deserve answers, not an ever-changing story. If there's more, tell us now,” Amash tweeted. “Campaigns don't operate this way. Even a political novice would worry about violating campaign finance laws given the context of the emails.”

Trump on Wednesday defended his son, saying he has been “open, transparent and innocent.”

“This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!” the president tweeted.

Dingell targets domestic violence

Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell of Dearborn said Wednesday she is working on creating a caucus in Congress for members concerned about domestic violence.

The second-term lawmaker said she is also planning to hold conferences in Washington and Michigan during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

Dingell revealed her plans as she reintroduced her bill that would include dating partners in the category of domestic abusers prohibited from purchasing or owning firearms under federal law. Her bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by GOP Rep. Dan Donovan of New York, would also clarify that convicted stalkers may not legally purchase a firearm.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Dingell has pushed for stricter firearm restrictions in part because the issue of domestic violence is personal.

She’s told the story of a terrifying night as an eighth-grader when her father wielded a gun, threatening to shoot her mother. Dingell intervened and tried to grab the weapon, then locked herself and her siblings in a bedroom to try to hide.

Her father broke in. He unplugged the phone and took the knobs off the doors, “so we could not get out, and no one could get in,” Dingell wrote in a 2012 op-ed in the Washington Post.

“I know what it’s like to live in a home where someone has access to guns who shouldn’t,” Dingell said in an interview. “I don’t want to see somebody live with that fear in their heart. Nobody should have to live in fear of their life or their safety because of domestic violence.”

Totten urges Miles for AG

Mark Totten, the Democrat’s 2014 nominee for Michigan attorney general, is encouraging former federal prosecutor Patrick Miles to run for the post in 2018.

In an email to The Detroit News, Totten said he decided against running again himself and is instead “helping Pat take all the necessary steps he needs to take now if he does run.”

Miles served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan under President Barack Obama but resigned in January when Obama left office.

The Grand Rapids native was the first African-American to hold that position in the west Michigan district. He previously worked as a private practice attorney for Dickinson Wright and ran for Congress in 2010, losing to Republican Rep. Justin Amash in the 3rd District general election.

“Pat would be a top-shelf candidate,” Totten wrote. “... If he runs, I think he wins the nomination and has a very good shot at winning in ‘18.”

Other potential Democratic candidates include attorney Dana Nessel, who represented Michigan plaintiffs in a landmark same-sex marriage case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

State House Speaker Tom Leonard of DeWitt and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton are among those considering runs for the GOP nomination for attorney general.

Colbeck stockpiling ‘rocket fuel’

Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton is looking to stockpile some “rocket fuel” before formally “launching” his gubernatorial campaign later this month.

The aerospace engineer and term-limited tea party favorite is hosting fundraisers Thursday at Dave and Buster’s in Utica and Monday at George’s Senate Coney Island in Northville, according to invites shared with The News.

Colbeck filed paperwork to run for governor last month, but he is scheduled to declare lift-off on July 22 with a launch party at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville. Planned guest speakers include conservative radio host Thayrone X of WAAM 1600 and Ypsilanti-based pastor Levon R. Yuille.

Colbeck is the highest-profile Republican in the race – so far. Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley are also likely to seek the GOP nomination. Democratic candidates include former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed.

Candidates are required to report fund-raising numbers to the state by July 25.

Stabenow pursues tax credit

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, has introduced a bill that would provide a 25-percent tax credit for the cost of buildings and equipment for a business’ first commercial production facility.

If a business doesn’t own income taxes, the credit would be refundable against payroll taxes up to $250,000 under the Growing Small Businesses Act.

Stabenow has toured nearly 100 small businesses around Michigan during the last year. She said she often heard from business owners and entrepreneurs in incubator spaces looking to take the next step and expand in an independent location with their own employees and production space.

Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke and Jonathan Oosting