The United States Constitution dictates:
"The House of Representatives ... shall have the sole Power of Impeachment." ~ Article I, Section 2, Clause 5
The permission of the President, the Senate or the minority party in the House is not required to proceed with impeachment despite GOP and White House claims to the contrary.
The power to impeach has only been used for a President twice in United States history—for Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.
Despite historical precedent and constitutional backing, segments of the Republican Party have gone to extraordinary measures to try to disrupt and discredit the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump for a laundry list of so-called violations. But a former Republican—who left the party in July 2019 over his party's embrace of Trump—has called foul on the shenanigans and misinformation.
Representative Justin Amash of Michigan—now an independent—took to Twitter to admonish his fellow members of Congress. And to advise them to consider how history will judge them.
"This president will be in power for only a short time, but excusing his misbehavior will forever tarnish your name. To my Republican colleagues: Step outside your media and social bubble. History will not look kindly on disingenuous, frivolous, and false defenses of this man."
This president will be in power for only a short time, but excusing his misbehavior will forever tarnish your name.… https://t.co/bC8InVZEJs— Justin Amash (@Justin Amash)1572531360.0
People concurred with the Michigan Congressman's assessment and advice.
@justinamash I seriously do not understand how so many are making this so political, and plain ignoring obvious, bl… https://t.co/rMtjtS0Q2a— Steven Myers (@Steven Myers)1572531690.0
@TwoCentsScuba @justinamash This is the American tragedy. Trump's blatant criminal activity, the nonstop obstructio… https://t.co/Z0ZVsmgsvu— The Amazon Rainforest is STILL on🔥FIRE🔥 (@The Amazon Rainforest is STILL on🔥FIRE🔥)1572532553.0
While some posited the sound advice would fall on deaf ears. And some—like Amash—also left the GOP as a result.
@justinamash @Lawrence "If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not aband… https://t.co/DiHLq2TWTs— JOHN *341 days until Election Day 2020* WRIGHT (@JOHN *341 days until Election Day 2020* WRIGHT)1572532874.0
@TheWrightJohn @justinamash @Lawrence Except they’re not conservative, they’re trumpservatives and tRumpublicans.— S. Horton (@S. Horton)1572533571.0
@Alphabitch27 @TheWrightJohn @justinamash @Lawrence I look at the more as being supporters of fascism or a dictatorship— k hank #resist (@k hank #resist)1572534377.0
@khankiso @TheWrightJohn @justinamash @Lawrence Goes without saying, and that line of thought, is the very reason w… https://t.co/xIHAPZ87Vs— S. Horton (@S. Horton)1572543411.0
Others felt the ride or die Trump support offered voters important insights.
@justinamash @DogMoosey To be fair, a lot of those defending 45 are giving us important information about how deepl… https://t.co/hcd92gWbOi— Airbag Moments McFnktrump 🆘 (@Airbag Moments McFnktrump 🆘)1572533372.0
@airbagmoments @justinamash @DogMoosey This is a great point. There's a lot of talk about Trump changing who people… https://t.co/pKK4guNYC7— Erik Nelson (@Erik Nelson)1572533921.0
@ErikNelson5 @justinamash @DogMoosey I'm afraid so. It's scarier than Invasion of the Body Snatchers. #HappyHalloween!— Airbag Moments McFnktrump 🆘 (@Airbag Moments McFnktrump 🆘)1572534757.0
@justinamash And what’s at stake is free and fair elections. If Senators or Reps support this President’s actions,… https://t.co/o674EUoZfu— Citizen Commenter (@Citizen Commenter)1572533626.0
@justinamash We have a “Russian asset” in the White House. PERIOD. The only question is this: How MUCH cooperati… https://t.co/VHoKRXfTUR— Buddy Tumbarello (@Buddy Tumbarello)1572532143.0
Amash earned respect for his stance and integrity from some, despite largely differing with him on politics.
@justinamash @JuliusGoat Amash is the perfect example of a Republican politician that I disagree with in most cases… https://t.co/lclEneElfh— Keep Calm, Do Facepalm (@Keep Calm, Do Facepalm)1572542825.0
@rexinabq @justinamash I disagree with him profoundly almost across the board, but he is the only one, because the… https://t.co/WIDcYXZ6iI— A.R. Moxon (@A.R. Moxon)1572542930.0
The President did have a few supporters in the comments, although their message seemed awash in the type of conspiracy theories Amash advised against.
@justinamash You are a disgrace Justin Amash. Siding with Democrats who announced their impeachment of Trump the ni… https://t.co/UBjWxKWGqK— Melissa A. (@Melissa A.)1572542276.0
@TheRightMelissa @justinamash Hoax coup 😂 that’s a new one. Much collusion sad. Very quid witch pro hunt quo.— SP⌬⌬KY J⌬N (@SP⌬⌬KY J⌬N)1572556086.0
@TheRightMelissa @justinamash He’s talking to you Melissa. The bubble comes from cutting yourself off from knowable… https://t.co/ZGJnY7jTpC— Peachy Dory - We’re all Earthlings (@Peachy Dory - We’re all Earthlings)1572555844.0
The Congressman's message referred to the actions of several GOP members of the House who earned themselves the moniker MAGA minions for their actions to derail the impeachment inquiry. Appearing on news broadcasts, the House floor and posting on Twitter, the GOP group earned accolades from Trump supporters and derision from other members of Congress and an informed public for the inaccuracy of their claims.
As Amash pointed out in his advice, the lies and grandstanding play well to a base unfamiliar with constitutional law or the rules of Congress. But a reflective, informed gaze back to this moment will not be as kind.