Should Rep. Justin Amash, the Republican-turned-Independent from Michigan, help make the case for impeaching the President? Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnetonka said that when the idea struck him on Friday evening, he reached out to his close confidants first, and then asked more of his colleagues.
As first reported by the Washington Post on Sunday, Phillips said he’s gathered a group of around 33 Democrats to sign on to the idea that Amash help make the case for impeachment. “He would be a terrific member of the management team if indeed articles are forwarded to the Senate for a trial,” Phillips told MinnPost.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will select members to represent House’s case for impeachment during the Senate trial, called impeachment managers, that will serve as a sort of team of prosecutors. Reps. Adam Schiff of California and Jared Nadler of New York, the two committee chairs running impeachment so far, are almost certain to be chosen. But the other three slots committee could be competitive, as several members are asking for a slot, including Rep. Stacey Plaskett, a delegate to Congress representing the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But Phillips believes someone like Amash, a Tea Party libertarian, is needed to demonstrate the case that impeachment isn’t about partisanship.
Phillips, a moderate Democrat and a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said he has already spoken with Amash and that the Michigan congressman was “humbled and I think surprised.”
“I didn’t want to float the idea to our whole Democratic freshman class without at least that he would be interested … and that’s exactly what I did,” he said. “And we’ve been corresponding since.”
When asked which members have signed onto the idea, Phillips said he has 33 strong affirmative yes statements on the idea from members, but he’d rather not say who. “I’m not going to divulge names,” Phillips said. “I think that’s up to individuals to do so.”
At least one Democrat, Rep. Max Rose of New York, told MinnPost that he is supportive of the effort.
The idea has has been latched onto by pundits and public figures from disparate parts of the political spectrum.
“As others have suggested, Rep. Amash should be one of the impeachment managers for the Senate trial,” Kevin Kruse, a historian of American History, said on Twitter. Michelle Goldberg, a New York Times columnists that leans significantly to the left of most of her colleagues, said on Twitter: “Democrats should choose Amash as one of their impeachment managers.” And Charlie Sykes, editor of the conservative (but Never-Trump website) The Bulwark, called the suggestion a “Good idea.”
Amash told HuffPost’s Matt Fuller that he has so far not been approached by Pelosi about the idea, but “would have the conversation.”
House Democrats plan to vote on impeachment on Wednesday. If they are approved, articles of impeachment will be forwarded to the Senate for a trial, which will be presided over by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Phillips said he fully intends to vote for articles of impeachment, come tomorrow.
“In fact, you know, [I’ve been] using language similar to Rep. Amash, which is that our responsibility is not to try or convict or acquit,” Phillips said.
“Our responsibility is analogous to a grand jury to assess the evidence and determine if it warrants a trial.”