In what seemed like partisan protection of President Donald Trump during Michael Cohen’s testimony at Wednesday’s congressional hearing, a distinct, peculiar, voice stood out as a lone wolf. It was the voice of conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.). Amash didn’t fall in line with GOP questioning or follow a pattern of trying to protect the president, as many reports critiqued the GOP for doing. Instead, he spoke up. Amash stared the president’s former attorney, the now convicted Cohen, in the face and asked a blunt question:
“What is the truth President Trump is most afraid of people knowing?”
It was a boldface question that was striking from a GOP member, given that the GOP adamantly sides with the president, no matter how many reported lies he tells to the people, and no matter how many controversies or criminal allegations with which he becomes entangled.
On Sunday, Amash took his bold statements to an even more charged level.
Appearing on CNN, Amash made it clear that he opposes President Donald Trump’s emergency border wall declaration.
“I think the President is violating our constitutional system,” Amash said to CNN’s Jake Tapper on his State of the Union program. “And I don’t think Congress can grant legislative powers to the President by statute. You can’t just pass a statute that says: the President now has appropriations power and bypass Congress.”
Amash, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, slammed Trump’s continued attempts since February to get additional funding to build a wall along the southern border. He explained that if his Republican colleagues support Trump’s move, they too are skirting their constitutional responsibilities. He doesn’t “think that they are all intending to do that,” he said in clarification. They are probably not “thinking to themselves, ‘Oh, I just want the President to violate the Constitution,’ ” said Amash.
Still, Amash does not stand with Trump’s wall measure. He joined 12 other Republicans in the House who voted with Democrats to block Trump’s national emergency declaration to build the wall. “We have to protect our own power,” he told Tapper.
The measure to block Trump’s declaration is now being considered in the Senate.
Amash said that he’s “hopeful many Republican senators will agree” to curb what he thinks are Trump’s abuses of constitutional powers.
Amash made his defiance known on Twitter.
“A national emergency declaration for a non-emergency is void,” Amash tweeted. “A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act. @POTUS @realDonaldTrump is attempting to circumvent our constitutional system.”
Amash also declined on Sunday to rule out a 2020 run for president as a Libertarian candidate.
“Well, I would never rule anything out. That’s not on my radar right now,” he said of 2020. “But I think that it is important that we have someone in there who is presenting a vision for America that is different from what these two parties are presenting.”
He noted the “wild amount of partisan rhetoric on both sides,” and said that “Congress is totally broken.”