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Justin Amash’s Call For Impeachment Shouldn’t Really Surprise Anyone

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., speaks with a reporter outside of the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., speaks with a reporter outside of the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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May 20, 2019 1:49 p.m.

On Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) became the first Republican holding a national office to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

This most recent bucking of his party should come as no surprise to anyone who’s watched Amash grow from Tea Party insurgent in 2010 to frequent thorn in Republican leadership’s side.

Running afoul of the establishment is Amash’s bread and butter.  

Here are other memorable instances where the congressman earned his maverick stripes:

Feud with former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)

Amash ruffled Boehner’s feathers almost from the first, eventually prompting the House Speaker to rip him off the Budget Committee as retribution back in 2012. Amash had declined to vote for Boehner in his speakership reelection, and also refused to vote for then-Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) bill, saying it didn’t cut enough spending. 

Spoke out against Trump after his election

“He seems to believe that government works like a business and he is the CEO of the business, and that is not how it works,” Amash told The Hill just after the election. “We have separate branches, checks and balances, federalism.”

Slammed Republicans’ Obamacare replacement

Though he ultimately did vote for the bill, he took to Facebook to lambaste the GOP’s legislation, saying that “this is not the bill we promised the American people.” He said it was only “marginally” better than Obamacare, which he has long railed against.

“While I’ve been in Congress, I can’t recall a more universally detested piece of legislation than this GOP health care bill,” he also tweeted.

Joined with Democrats to request independent probe after Comey firing

“My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre,” Amash tweeted in May 2017, referring to the part of the letter where Trump thanks Comey for telling him that he was not under investigation.

Amash also brought up the possibility of impeachment back in May 2017 after Comey released a memo detailing Trump’s request that the FBI drop the investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

“No” vote on Russian sanctions

In July 2017, Amash cast a vote against sanctions on Russia. He said that the punishments laid out in the bill were “too broad & undefined.”

Flayed Trump after the President gleefully danced on former Rep. Mark Sanford’s (R-SC) political grave

“House Republicans had front row seats to @POTUS’s dazzling display of pettiness and insecurity,” Amash tweeted. “Nobody applauded or laughed. People were disgusted.” During a meeting with the House GOP in June 2018, Trump had mocked Sanford for losing his primary.

Voted with Democrats to block Trump’s emergency declaration

Amash was infuriated by Trump’s national emergency declaration, saying that the President was “attempting to circumvent our constitutional system.” He crossed the aisle to block the effort.

In all, per FiveThirtyEight, Amash votes in line with Trump’s position about 62 percent of the time. This is notable in the new world order where most Republicans balk at provoking the President’s anger. (The only Republican to side with the President less frequently than Amash in 2019 is North Carolina’s Walter Jones, for whom the data is incomplete — he died in February.)

Staying true to his libertarian roots, Amash has now jabbed a finger right in Trump’s eye with his impeachment comment, earning both himself the President’s wrath and a primary challenger. We’ll soon see if this level of unorthodoxy has any place in the Republican party.

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