Dissident Republican Amash Suggests Manafort Covered Up Russia Collusion
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan has drawn widespread criticism from fellow Republicans for calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. But the conservative Michigan congressman isn’t backing down, and on Thursday, Amash took to Twitter and reiterated his call for impeachment in a thread containing at least 20 tweets — including a few discussing the role that Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager, Paul Manafort, plays in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation.
Amash covers a lot of ground in his thread, noting that two associates of the president — Manafort and Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen — have both “been convicted for offering false information.” And according to Amash, “Manafort’s lack of cooperation” during Mueller’s investigation “left open some significant questions, such as why exactly he provided an associate in Ukraine with campaign polling data, which he expected to be shared with a Russian oligarch.”
With that assertion, Republican Amash is touching on something that few, if any, Democrats have been saying: that Trump, in his obstruction, may have actually been successful in covering up a crime. Mueller’s report raises a question as to why Manafort, in 2016, was sending polling data to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska via Ukraine-born political consultant Konstantin V. Kilimnik.
In his thread, Amash also noted that Mueller’s report “describes a consistent effort by the president to use his office to obstruct or otherwise corruptly impede the Russian election interference investigation because it put his interests at risk.”
Both men have been convicted for offering false information, and Manafort’s lack of cooperation left open some significant questions, such as why exactly he provided an associate in Ukraine with campaign polling data, which he expected to be shared with a Russian oligarch.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 23, 2019
Trump, Amash writes in his thread, “had an incentive to undermine” Mueller’s probe—which “threatened to uncover information, including criminal activity, that could put Trump’s interests at risk” and “revealed criminal activities, some of which were committed by people in Trump’s orbit.”
One of those people is Cohen, who, Amash points out, is now serving a three-year sentence in federal prison for, among other things, committing a “campaign finance violation on Trump’s behalf.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is among the Republicans who reacted angrily to Amash’s call for impeachment, claiming during a Fox News appearance that Amash “votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me”—which is wrong. Amash has a very conservative voting record.
Trump himself has angrily responded to Amash’s call for impeachment, denouncing him as a “loser” and “a total lightweight” on Twitter:
Never a fan of @justinamash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy. If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, “composed” by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump,….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Trump accused Amash of not reading Mueller’s report, but the Michigan representative has said that before calling for Trump’s impeachment, he had read the redacted version of the report in his entirety. And since the Mueller report doesn’t contain many pictures, Trump himself is unlikely to have read any part of it that hasn’t been featured on cable news.