Amash: 'The ball is in our court, Congress'

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash says he will vote in favor of articles of impeachment House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan MORE (R-Mich.), the lone Republican to endorse impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE, said Wednesday that Congress has to take action after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE maintained that charging President Trump wasn't an option.

"The ball is in our court, Congress," Amash tweeted on Wednesday.

Amash's tweet came shortly after Mueller gave his first public statement since taking over the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election nearly two years ago.

It also came after Amash held his first public town hall in his Michigan district since he endorsed impeaching Trump earlier this month. The GOP congressman supported beginning impeachment proceedings in light of the Mueller report's findings on the president's attempts to undermine the investigation.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mueller said in his statement Wednesday that he would not testify before Congress and wouldn't offer any commentary beyond what was laid out in his report about Russia's efforts to interfere in the election and documentation of Trump's possible efforts to obstruct the investigation. 

But Mueller said his office concluded that they could not bring charges against Trump as they investigated whether he obstructed justice, citing current Justice Department guidance which states that a sitting president can't be indicted.

Mueller also reiterated that while his report "does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

"After that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so," Mueller said.

Amash received a standing ovation Tuesday evening at his Grand Rapids, Mich., town hall, his first public event since becoming the first Republican to say Trump had engaged in impeachable conduct. But he also faced criticism from some Trump supporters, including at least one constituent who had supported Amash in the past.

Pro-Trump state Rep. Jim Lower announced he would mount a GOP primary bid against Amash shortly after Amash said he believed Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Lower acknowledged to The Washington Post on Tuesday that he had not read the Mueller report but believed it ended questions about Trump's conduct.

Amash defended his position on the Mueller report during his town hall.

"If you have a society where all we care about is that the other side is bad, and therefore we don't have to do the right thing, that society will break down, and you will have no liberty," Amash said. "I refuse to be a part of that."

But Amash, a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, so far has gone further on impeachment than House Democratic leaders. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (D-Calif.) remains opposed to pursuing impeachment, instead preferring for committees to continue their investigations.

Yet nearly three dozen Democrats, including House Judiciary Committee members, have come out in support of impeachment in recent days.

Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsPelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers Impeachment inquiry enters critical new phase Lawmakers turn attention to potential witnesses at Judiciary impeachment hearings MORE (D-Fla.), a Judiciary Committee member, tweeted after Mueller's statement on Wednesday that "Congress must act."

"For him to go on television and repeat it adds new urgency, putting it front & center before Congress & the American people. He's asking us to do what he wasn't allowed to—hold the president accountable," Demings tweeted.

Updated at noon.