The Jury Talks Back


Justin Amash Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:31 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Quick update: As anticipated, Justin Amash is going to be facing a primary challenge. He has also pushed back against his critics after asserting that the President had engaged in “impeachable conduct”:

People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation—and therefore cannot be impeached—are resting their argument on several falsehoods:

1. They say there were no underlying crimes.

In fact, there were many crimes revealed by the investigation, some of which were charged, and some of which were not but are nonetheless described in Mueller’s report.

2. They say obstruction of justice requires an underlying crime.

In fact, obstruction of justice does not require the prosecution of an underlying crime, and there is a logical reason for that. Prosecutors might not charge a crime precisely *because* obstruction of justice denied them timely access to evidence that could lead to a prosecution.

If an underlying crime were required, then prosecutors could charge obstruction of justice only if it were unsuccessful in completely obstructing the investigation. This would make no sense.

3. They imply the president should be permitted to use any means to end what he claims to be a frivolous investigation, no matter how unreasonable his claim.

In fact, the president could not have known whether every single person Mueller investigated did or did not commit any crimes.
4. They imply “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” requires charges of a statutory crime or misdemeanor.

In fact, “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined in the Constitution and does not require corresponding statutory charges. The context implies conduct that violates the public trust—and that view is echoed by the Framers of the Constitution and early American scholars.

P.S. From Justin Amash’s challenger Michigan State Rep. Jim Lower’s campaign website. Note what he leads with:

I am a Pro-Trump, Pro-Life, Pro-Jobs, Pro-2nd Amendment, Pro-Family Values Republican. Congressman Justin Amash’s tweets calling for President Trump’s impeachment show how out of touch he is with the truth and how out of touch he is with people he represents. Amash has not only failed to support President Trump as the President works to make the United States stronger and safer, he has now united with radical liberals like Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) to try and bring down our President. He must be replaced and I am going to do it.



  1. Still waiting for him to release specifics.

    Comment by Sean — 5/20/2019 @ 4:48 pm

  2. Specifics? Oh, don’t worry, the Mexicans will pay for them.

    Comment by Luke Stywalker — 5/21/2019 @ 2:33 am

  3. Technically, we paid for them, and anyone calling for the impeachment of the President should, at the very least, provide specific charges to back up their accusation.

    Comment by Sean — 5/21/2019 @ 7:50 am

  4. Right over his head, I guess.

    Comment by Luke Stywalker — 5/21/2019 @ 1:39 pm

  5. @ Sean,

    If you wait for Amish to release specifics, you’re in for a very long wait. :)

    Seriously though, I don';t think he will because he can’t without undermining his own position; the charges are absurdly weak (even if we don’t factor in that there was no underlying crime). So, when one has a a weak factual position, a default position of hyperbole is often chosen.

    I look at it this way; most of the people calling for Trump’s impeachment for obstruction (in a case with no crime) were just fine with supporting someone who committed flagrant obstruction to cover up actual crimes (Hillary wiping the server and destroying blackberries after subpoenas) and were also just fine with her husband’s perjury while both president and an officer of the court. And, though they seem not to want to remember, guess what; perjury is also obstruction of justice.

    Were it not for double standards, the left would have no standards at all.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 5/21/2019 @ 4:12 pm

  6. @ Dana, there is a flaw in your reasoning on one point;

    “If an underlying crime were required, then prosecutors could charge obstruction of justice only if it were unsuccessful in completely obstructing the investigation. This would make no sense.”

    That’s not true. Establishing that an underlying crime occurred is not the same thing as a requirement to have successfully obstructed an investigation.

    Meuller’s investigation was into Russian interference with the election (and his finding was that no US persons were involved). The only crimes be prosecuted were actually unrelated to that.

    I agree that, in a regular obstruction case, one can be charged with obstruction even if the underlying crime turns out not to have occurred. (for example, Scooter Libby). I do not think this is a good law, at all, and in a case of impeachment, to say it’s going to be a hard sell is an understatement.

    Also, if perjury (which is also obstruction) does not rise the standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” (Which the Democrats proclaimed, long and loud) how does obstruction, especially absent an underlying crime?

    And more to the point, why are so few calling for obstruction charges unwilling and unable to give specifics? Looks to me that the best shorot they have is the claim Trump asked McGhan, the white house lawyer, to fire Meuller and have him replaced. A power McGhan did not have.

    If the Democrats do not wish a president to have defacto license to obstruct, then they ought not to have set the precedent doing so. It makes no sense whatsoever (and is downright suicidal) to play by the rules when the other side does not.

    And, an angle I haven’t seen raised anywhere is this; if the investigation itself was illegal (for example, if they lied in the FISA warrant and called the Steele dossier verified) then an illegally grounded investigation legally does not exist (If I’m reading court rulings on such matters right). And that would make obstruction, if it occurred, moot; you cannot obstruct something that does not exist.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 5/21/2019 @ 5:59 pm

  7. @Luke sorry if I miss-read your earlier comment, but it looked to me as though you are supporting Amash’s position given the jab at Trump’s call for Mexico to build the wall. Not that I disagree with hitting Trump over that statement, but it seemed out of place given the discussion over Amash’s comments.

    @Arizona I completely agree with you about waiting on specifics, none will be forthcoming because they all believe the report validates their position and therefore do not need to explain why. They’re not interested in convincing people that Trump should be impeached because they think the people are on their side (bubbleitis); however, they’re wrong about this.

    In Amash’s case I think his call to oust Trump does have a lot to do with his family business as the tariffs have hurt a lot of tooling companies, especially those that invested and moved manufacturing to China. There was already a large backlash among mechanics, woodworkers, etc. against US companies (and UK companies, like Irwin) that moved production overseas, kept their prices the same, and then began shipping inferior products. Now, the tariffs have made a lot of those inferior tools close to the price of those still being produced in the US.

    Comment by Sean — 5/22/2019 @ 7:58 am

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