Justin Amash: Dems 'missed an opportunity' to 'persuade people' about Trump impeachment

Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON –  Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican turned independent, said that Democrats "missed an opportunity" to "persuade people in the middle" of the case to impeach President Donald Trump during the hearing in the Judiciary Committee.

Amash, who has been calling for the impeachment of Trump since May following the release of the Mueller Report, tweeted Thursday that "Democrats made a strategic error in not engaging more with" Jonathan Turley of George Washington University.

Turley, who was the sole witness called before the committee by the Republicans, mainly argued he was against impeachment as it stood because the House was moving too quickly in the inquiry. He offered testimony that bolstered the Republican argument against the timeline and procedure of the investigation.  

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Amash expressed frustration that Democrats spent the majority of their time with their own witnesses instead of Turley, saying his "testimony was potentially most damaging to President Trump."

"[Impeachment is] not wrong because President Trump is right. His call was anything but perfect. It is not wrong because the House has no legitimate reason to investigate the Ukrainian controversy. It is not wrong because we are in an election year. There is no good time for an impeachment," Turley said during Wednesday's hearing. "No, it is wrong because this is not how you impeach an American president."

Amash questioned, "Why didn’t Democrats ask him to expound on this? Turley also said impeachment might be justified with a complete record. They should have pressed him repeatedly on the White House’s responsibility for denying certain evidence."

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Turley stated during the hearing that “[Trump’s] call was anything but ‘perfect’ and his reference to the Bidens was highly inappropriate” while also mentioning that “The use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one’s political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense.”

Amash continued in his twitter thread that "Turley acknowledged that Trump’s actions were improper, potentially impeachable, and worthy of further investigation. Democrats failed to capitalize on these admissions from a GOP legal scholar because they were too busy obtaining less effective testimony from their own experts." 

The Michigan congressman, who was a founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is still one of the only GOP House members, former or current, to endorse impeaching Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House would draw up articles of impeachment against Trump, setting up a historic clash between the two branches of government that could lead to only the third presidential impeachment in history.

More: 'Our democracy is what is at stake.' Pelosi says House will draft impeachment articles against Trump

Amash also expressed frustration with Turley and Judiciary Republicans for their representation of their roles in the impeachment inquiry, saying both "consistently conflates impeachment in the House and trial in the Senate. The House simply *charges* impeachable offenses, and there’s clearly probable cause for charges."

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, Bart Jansen, Nicholas Wu, Ryan Miller, Christal Hayes

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amash: Dems miss opportunity with Turley at Trump impeachment