At least one Republican lawmaker is acknowledging that there may be grounds for impeachment if President Donald Trump tried to shut down a federal investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, as a Tuesday evening New York Times report alleged.
“If the allegations are true, yes,” Michigan Rep. Justin Amash said when asked if the matter was grounds for impeachment.
Amash, a member of the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus and chairman of the Liberty Caucus, has been calling for an independent commission to investigate the Trump administration’s alleged ties to Russia. He said Wednesday that he hopes more of his GOP colleagues will join him in that call.
However, several Republicans leaving a House GOP Conference meeting Wednesday resisted calls for an independent commission or special prosecutor.
“Let’s first see the work of the two Intelligence committees and the FBI,” said New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance, a member of the moderate Tuesday Group and a Democratic target for 2018.
Other Republicans were quick to point the finger at former FBI Director James B. Comey, who the Times report said wrote a memo documenting a February conversation with Trump in which the president allegedly called for him to drop the investigation into Flynn.
“If that actually happened and Comey didn’t report it to the House, he should’ve been fired right then,” Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer said.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan took a cautious note about the maelstrom surrounding Trump, saying there has been a lot of reporting lately that “requires closer examination.”
“We need the facts. It is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president,” the Wisconsin Republican said.
The speaker said Congress has an oversight function, regardless of who is in the White House, and it will exercise that now.
“That means, before rushing to judgement, we get all the information,” he said.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee appropriately requested the memo Comey allegedly wrote, Ryan said. Congress will want to hear from the former FBI director, the speaker said, although he stopped short of calling for a hearing, saying he will leave that up to the investigating committees.
Ryan said one of the questions Congress will have for Comey is: “Why didn’t he take action at the time?”
“Our job is to be responsible, sober, and focus on only gathering the facts,” he added. “We can’t deal with speculation and innuendo and there is clearly a lot of politics being played. Our job is to get the facts.”
Asked if he still has full confidence in the president, Ryan said, “I do.”