The networks have suddenly discovered Congressman Justin Amash. After mostly ignoring him for the last two years, NBC, ABC and CBS hyped the Republican this weekend after the libertarian called for Donald Trump’s impeachment. On NBC’s Today, reporter Kristen Welker identified the Freedom Caucus as “far right.” She touted, “The President is under fire from a member of his own party, Michigan’s Republican Congressman Justin Amash, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus and a frequent critic of the President.” How many Democratic caucuses get branded “far-left?”
She explained, “The first member of the GOP to raise the issue of impeachment, tweeting over the weekend, 'President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.'” Welker speculated, “The bigger question may be will Amash add fuel to the Democratic push for impeachment?”
Over on CBS This Morning, co-host Anthony Mason described, “President Trump is firing back at the first Republican member of Congress saying he should be impeached... He cites the Mueller report, saying he believes if Mr. Trump wasn’t president, he would be indicted.”
On ABC’s Good Morning America, reporters Mary Bruce hinted, “While Amash's comments aren't surprising, they are certain to be used as further ammunition by the Democrats.” Co-host George Stephanopoulos, perhaps hopefully, concluded, “And may put more pressure on the Democrats.”
It should be pointed out that the networks have virtually ignored Amash until now. According to Nexis, NBC hasn’t mentioned Amash’s name in the last two years — until his call for impeachment. The same is true of CBS. ABC was slightly aware of his existence: Four mentions in the last two years (before this weekend).
Transcripts of the Amash discussion are below. Click “expand” to read more:
CRAIG MELVIN: Also, how the President is responding to the first Republican to call for his impeachment.
7:09 AM ET
KRISTEN WELKER: That message comes as the President is under fire from a member of his own party, Michigan’s Republican Congressman Justin Amash, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus and a frequent critic of the President, becoming the first member of the GOP to raise the issue of impeachment, tweeting over the weekend, “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.” The President firing back calling him a loser and a lightweight adding, “If he actually read the biased Mueller report, he would see it was nevertheless strong on no collusion and ultimately no obstruction.” But in a 13 tweet thread, Amash said he read the 448 report, which found no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to meddle in the campaign. But did not reach a conclusion on whether the President obstructed justice. Over the weekend, Republican Senator Mitt Romney disagreeing with Amash.
MITT ROMNEY: I respect him. I think it's a courageous statement. I think to make a case for obstruction of justice you don't have the elements in this document.
WELKER: And it is important to note, it's not unusual for Congressman Amash to break with his own party. This is no exception. In fact, he's the first and so far only Republican to raise the issue of impeachment. Still, the bigger question may be will Amash add fuel to the Democratic push for impeachment? Craig?
CBS This Morning
8:03 AM ET
ANTHONY MASON: President Trump is firing back at the first Republican member of Congress saying he should be impeached. The President called Michigan Congressman Justin Amash a “total lightweight” on Twitter and said he only wants attention. Amash sent over a dozen tweets over the weekend claiming the President engaged in impeachable conduct. He cites the Mueller report, saying he believes if Mr. Trump wasn’t president, he would be indicted. Amash says he’s concerned Congress has become so partisan that there’s no real threat of impeachment. So it’s not deterring misconduct.
Good Morning America
7:08 AM ET
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, the first Republican member of Congress to call for president Trump to be impeached.
MARY BRUCE: Yeah, George. Justin Amash, he’s never been a big supporter of the President. And now he’s the first Republican to come out and say he believes the President's behavior meets the threshold for impeachment. As you can imagine, that's not sitting well with the president. He blasted Amash on Twitter calling him a lightweight. And George, while Amash's comments aren't surprising they are certain to be used as further ammunition by the Democrats.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And may put more pressure on the Democrats.