Romney Leaves Amash Hanging on Trump Impeachment: He’s ‘Reached a Different Conclusion’
Sen. Mitt Romney had strong words for President Trump a few weeks ago, after the Mueller report first wrapped, but on Sunday morning he opted not to back fellow Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, who presented on Saturday the case for impeachment from the right. “I don’t think there is the full element that you need,” said Romney.
Host Jake Tapper interviewed Romney for CNN’s State of the Union, and started first by recalling Romney’s previous comments about Trump and what was in the report. Romney said he was “sickened” by what was revealed, and he faced a good deal of backlash from fellow Republicans for it.
“You and congressman Amash are the only two elected Republicans, I think, to express any misgivings about the behavior of the president or his campaign team based on the Mueller report,” said Tapper. “First of all, are you surprised you two are the only ones that have really said anything condemning of the president’s behavior as laid out?”
“Well I think every individual has to make their own judgment. I think it helps to actually have read the entire document. It’s a long document. It took me two full days to get through it, and the second volume is more difficult to get through than the first. So, hopefully more people read it,” said Romney in a slow start. “But I think a lot of people want to reserve judgment until this is played out.”
He didn’t rush to Amash’s rescue, either. “My own view is that Justin Amash has reached a different conclusion than I have. I respect him. I think it’s a courageous statement. But I believe to make a case for obstruction of justice, you just don’’t have the elements that are evidenced in this document,” he said.
In fact, Romney made the counter argument to impeachment.
“I also believe that an impeachment call is not only something that relates to the law but also considers practicality and politics, and I think the American people just aren’t there,” he said, in an argument reminiscent of that offered by Democrat leadership like Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi. “I think those that are considering impeachment have to look also at the jury, which would be the Senate. The Senate is certainly not there either.”
Tapper pressed him on whether he believes there is sufficient evidence to prove obstruction of justice, and Romney said that he does not. “I just don’t think there is the full element that you need to prove an obstruction of justice case,” he said, but added that “everyone reaches their own conclusion.”
“As I read the report, I was troubled by it. Was very disappointing for a number of reasons. But it did not suggest to me this was a time to call for impeachment,” he said more definitively.
As the interview continues, they discussed whether Trump has been dishonest, abused his power, or other misconduct, but Romney never got on board impeachment. Romney offered more criticism of Trump as a person, and said that Trump has “distanced himself from the best qualities of the human character.”
So Romney is on board with Amash criticizing Trump, and does so himself, but was clear that he does not agree there is case for impeachment. And he lightly backed Speaker Pelosi’s view that the American public has no appetite for impeachment proceedings.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.
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