House

GOP Rep. Amash endorses Dem push for independent Russia probe

Republican Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) has signed onto legislation from Democrats to create an independent commission to investigate Russian election interference, becoming the second GOP lawmaker to do so.

Amash became a cosponsor of the Protecting Our Democracy Act this week after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, his spokeswoman confirmed Thursday following a BuzzFeed report.

Amash had indicated on Tuesday in the hours after Comey’s bombshell firing that he was inclined to back the legislation.

{mosads}“My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre,” Amash tweeted, referring to the paragraph in Trump’s letter to Comey that states “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”

The bill, authored by Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), has been endorsed by all 193 House Democrats, along with four delegates who caucus with them.

Before Amash, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) was the only Republican co-sponsor.

Despite Amash’s backing, the idea of an independent commission or a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s role in the election and possible Trump-Kremlin links hasn’t gained traction among most Republicans.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has endorsed the idea, but like Amash and Jones, he is an outlier among Republicans on the issue.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted this week that the current probes by the FBI as well as the House and Senate Intelligence committees will suffice.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Ryan said on Fox News on Wednesday evening when asked about a special prosecutor.

“I think the intelligence committees are the ones that should do this, because, don’t forget that the methods and sources of our intelligence gathering are also at play here, and we have to be very sensitive so that we don’t compromise that information as well,” he added.

Swalwell urged more Republicans to follow suit after Amash signed onto the bill. 

“I’m glad Rep. Amash has joined this effort, and I hope he can persuade others to join, too. We must put country over party to get to the bottom of what happened, and to ensure it never happens again. We can only find these truths with one, united search party,” Swalwell said. 

– Updated at 4:27 p.m.

Tags John McCain Justin Amash Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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