Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on Tuesday dismissed a GOP colleague’s recent call to impeach President Donald Trump, saying that the real villains have already been punished and claiming — incorrectly — that House Democrats were against such a move anyway.
In an interview with MSNBC, Kinzinger disputed Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (R), who tweeted over the weekend that Trump had engaged in “impeachable conduct,” including obstruction of justice. “[Special counsel Robert] Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” he wrote.
Amash also said most members of Congress had not even read the report.
On Tuesday, Kinzinger claimed he had. “I read the Mueller report. Think a lot of congressmen, maybe most have. It’s long and there’s a lot of legalese,” he said.
He continued, “When I read it, I said first off, there’s no evidence of collusion.”
Mueller, in fact, made clear in his report that “collusion” is not a crime and that he’d found insufficient evidence to charge Trump with illegal coordination with Russia.
The Illinois Republican then claimed impeaching Trump was unnecessary, because the people responsible for the obstruction laid out in Mueller’s report were already behind bars.
“When it comes to the obstruction issue, there’s no final thing mentioned on that. And what it comes down to is, people that were responsible were held responsible,” he said. He proceeded to cite figures like former Trump 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is serving a seven and a half year sentence for tax and bank fraud, conspiracy against the United States, and obstruction of justice.
None of those charges, however, stem from the obstruction activity outlined in Mueller’s report, which instead details at least 10 instances involving Trump that may have constituted obstruction. Mueller ultimately did not recommend charges against the president, but left it to Congress to take the next step.
Kinzinger also claimed falsely that “even the Democrats aren’t saying impeach right now.” At least two Democratic representatives have already filed articles of impeachment against Trump and several more have signed on to a resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry.
Amash’s pro-impeachment comments have not gone over well with others in his party. Trump branded him “a total lightweight” and his fellow members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have officially condemned his remarks.
“We had a good discussion and every single member. I think now, based on who was there and our board meeting was probably over 30 members, every single member disagrees and strongly with the position Justin took over the week, and we’re focused on the now,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told reporters Monday evening.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) added, “Everybody’s entitled their opinion — it’s just, in this case, Justin is one solo voice and the rest of this group here says ‘you’re wrong.'”