In a long series of tweets on Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) became the first Republican lawmaker to call for President Trump’s impeachment. This story was covered by my colleagues, Streiff, here and Bonchie, here.
Amash claimed that after reading the less redacted copy of the Mueller Report, he saw the light. Although Amash’s tweets were numerous, they amounted to a list of generic talking points of why any president would be impeached. He failed to offer any specific action taken by the President that would necessitate his removal from office.
Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
Since then, there’s been any number of possible reasons bandied about as to why Amash would suddenly make such a move. One pundit suggested that Amash wanted to attract media attention to himself ahead of a rumored 2020 run. (The rumor didn’t specify which party’s nomination he would seek.)
But there may be another, more credible reason. It turns out that Amash has business interests in China. As U.S. tensions with China continue to rise, the political risk to his investment in the country has increased.
One America News Network reported on Monday:
According to local reports, Amash is a co-owner of Dynamic Source International, a Chinese company which supplies Michigan Industrial Tools. Mash’s 2017 financial disclosure shows the congressman reported between $100,000 to $1 million for his ownership stake in Michigan Industrial Tools.
In 2010, Amash’s Democratic opponent in Michigan’s Third District congressional race, Pat Miles, ran an ad highlighting the discrepancy.
When confronted by local media, Amash denied having partial ownership in the company and claimed that the ad was false.
As trade talks with China continue, it’s clear that Amash would personally suffer from President Trump’s tariffs.
Along with his questionable finances, Amash has also hinted at running for president in 2020.
The Kent County Commissioner, Jim Saalfeld, says Amash’s call for impeachment are solely for media attention. “He’s a Libertarian, he’s not a Republican. I know he’s talked about running for President as a Libertarian. And so, I suspect this is nothing more than a media stunt to get free national attention in that regard.
Saalfeld’s comment makes sense. I had never heard of Justin Amash until he made news on Saturday when he called for Trump’s impeachment. And I bet most other voters hadn’t heard of him either.
I can’t say that gaining attention in this way will help him. In fact, it’s already hurt him. Fox News reported Monday morning that a “fellow Republican has vowed to challenge him in the upcoming primary election.”
Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower, who says he is pro-Trump, announced earlier today that he plans to challenge Amash for the Republican 2020 nomination. Lower told reporters, “Congressman Justin Amash’s tweets yesterday calling for President Trump’s impeachment show how out of touch he is with the truth and how out of touch he is with the people he represents.”
Lower said he had originally planned to announce his candidacy on July 4, but had moved up his date after hearing of Amash’s tweets. According to WWMT, Lower said “Amash has not only failed to support President Trump as the President works to make the United States stronger and safer, he has now united with radical liberals like Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib to try and bring down our President. He must be replaced and I am going to do it.”
And I certainly hope he does!