Ex-GOP Rep. Justin Amash Fact-Checks Republican Colleagues' Defense of Trump Against Impeachment

Representative Justin Amash, a conservative who was elected as a Republican but declared his independence in July, fact-checked a defense used by some of his GOP colleagues ahead of a vote on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

"Rs have quoted Hamilton from Federalist No. 65 on his fears of partisan impeachment. But Hamilton is not writing that passionate factionalism can be avoided. He is writing that our Constitution's approach—charges in the House, trial in the Senate—best renders impartial justice," Amash, who represents Michigan's 3rd district, tweeted.

Republicans and Democrats have both cited essays written by Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, to defend positions both for and against impeaching Trump. In fact, Hamilton's name was mentioned 35 times in the 658-page report recommending the president's impeachment, which was released Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, as The Washington Post noted.

Republican Representative Doug Collins of Georgia invoked a passage from The Federalist No. 65 in his criticism of the impeachment inquiry against Trump on Tuesday. "It's interesting, we cherry-pick the founders," he argued.

"The one that's not mentioned, is the very thing we're here for," the GOP congressman continued. He then quoted a passage from the essay, saying "Alexander Hamilton called partisan impeachment 'regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt' the 'greatest danger.'"

Newsweek has reached out via email to Collins' press secretary for further comment.

But as Amash explained in his tweet, the passage has been quoted out of context. Hamilton was actually explaining, in an attempt to convince the original states to ratify the Constitution, the logic for dividing the impeachment process between the House and Senate. Amash actually quoted another passage from the same essay last week to explain what impeachable offenses are.

"What did the Framers mean by 'high Crimes and Misdemeanors'? 'High' denotes high office. They were not describing statutory misdeeds but rather 'those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust....'" the representative wrote in a tweet.

"They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself," he then tweeted, quoting the passage from article No. 65 of the historic text.

Justin Amash
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - MAY 28: U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) holds a Town Hall Meeting on May 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Amash was the first Republican member of Congress to say that President Donald Trump engaged in impeachable conduct. (Photo by /Getty Images) Bill Pugliano/Getty

Trump and his supporters have attempted to dismiss the entire impeachment inquired against the president as purely "partisan." The process has moved forward largely divided along party lines, although Democrats, and many conservatives not serving in Congress, have argued that the president's actions warrant impeachment, regardless of political sentiments.

Amash, who dramatically announced his independence from the GOP on July 4, is considered to be one of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives. However, he has backed pursuing the president's impeachment following conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian election interference earlier this year.

While Trump is expected to be impeached by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday, it is widely believed that he will be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate. The Senate trial is expected to move forward in the new year.