Freshman Democrats have a left-field — or rather, independent — idea for who should take on an impeachment manager role in President Trump’s Senate trial: Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI).
According to a Washington Post report Sunday, a group of 30 freshman Democrats, led by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), have privately advocated for Amash to be an impeachment manager in an effort to appeal to voters with a conservative voice. Several Democratic officials told the Post that the idea is for Amash — who does not sit on the House Intelligence or Judiciary committees — to appeal to conservative voters in a way that Democrats can’t and that the vocal Trump critic would potentially give Democrats cover from GOP accusations in the midst of impeachment proceedings.
“To the extent that this can be bipartisan, it should, and I think including Representative Amash amongst the impeachment managers is a smart move both for the country, for the substance and for the optics,” Phillips told the Post, while adding that Amash was “the first and only member of the Republican conference, when he was a Republican, to show courage.”
Multiple Democrats told the Post that ultimately House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would have the final say in who would be enlisted as impeachment manager and is expected to announce the managers early this week. According to the Post, Phillips said that Amash told him that he has agreed to consider the role if he is asked.
The push for Amash to be enlisted as an impeachment manager has received a generally positive reception from both the right and the left:
Good idea ——> Freshman Democrats push for Amash as impeachment manager – The Washington Post https://t.co/8j0Tr1eV8S
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) December 15, 2019
This would substantially change the tenor of the impeachment trial, I think. https://t.co/HkIb0Fxkbf
— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) December 15, 2019
please, please do this https://t.co/LRVNgQCU4r
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) December 15, 2019
There were 14 impeachment managers in the Clinton trial (including Graham & Chabot).
If Democrats stick with the same number now, they can easily spare one spot for Amash. He’s made a strong and clear case for impeachment already, and politically speaking it’d be shrewd.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) December 14, 2019
Mollifying disingenuous, intellectually bereft criticism from Republicans about fairness shouldn’t be a concern. But @justinamash has been articulating the strategy for impeachment better than most, regardless of party. That is the best argument for this. https://t.co/5h0QEM0Dtp
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) December 16, 2019
For all I know he may not want to, but if he's game, Dems should absolutely do this. https://t.co/2cfV6ga5RF
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) December 15, 2019
Amash formally withdrew from the Republican Party in July following the onslaught of backlash he received within the party after he ripped into Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr in light of the redacted Mueller report in May. Amash — who at the time still identified with the Republican Party — argued that Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct” and Barr “intended to mislead the public” while offering his critical analysis of the redacted Mueller report in a Twitter thread. In September, the Post reported that a spat between Trump and Rep. Mark Sanford, a fellow House Freedom Caucus member and unapologetic Trump critic, compelled Amash to split from the GOP.
Last month, Amash railed against his former Republican colleagues for spinning the impeachment probe “like we’re all stupid, like we can’t see what’s going on.”
Read the Washington Post’s report here.