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Freshman House Democrats seeking Amash to serve as impeachment manager

CBS News poll: Americans remain divided on impeachment
CBS News poll: Americans remain divided on Trump impeachment 07:14

Washington — Democratic Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota is leading an effort among his freshmen colleagues to draft Representative Justin Amash, an independent from Michigan, as one of the managers who would present the House's case against President Trump in a Senate impeachment trial.

Amash "took a courageous position early on," Phillips told CBS News, describing Amash's decision earlier this year to leave the Republican Party after saying he believed Mr. Trump had committed impeachable acts. "He's an attorney, he's a constitutionalist [and] has framed the issues as clearly and concisely as any congressman," Phillips said.

Phillips said 33 of his fellow freshmen have already responded to express their support for the idea, ranging from the most liberal progressives to the more moderate so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats. The Washington Post first reported the effort on Sunday. 

The House is gearing up to vote on two articles of impeachment this week, with both expected to be approved. The process would then move to the Senate, which would hold a trial in which House managers act as prosecutors.

Amash was condemned by his former colleagues for his comments and is unlikely to sway the Republican base to favor impeachment. But Phillips said that's a secondary consideration.

U.S. Representative Amash arrives for a House Oversight Committee Hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington
Representative Justin Amash arrives for a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2019. Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS

It's "all about pragmatism ... He can make a case thoughtfully" in a way that will articulate Mr. Trump's conduct to a broad cross section of Americans, Phillips said.

The freshmen are not planning on drafting a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Phillips said she is aware of their efforts and hopes she'll give it thoughtful consideration.

Neither Pelosi's office nor Amash's office immediately responded to requests for comment.

The Democratic caucus will next meet on Tuesday, ahead of an expected impeachment vote on the floor Wednesday. Pelosi will soon have to name impeachment managers to represent the House in the Senate trial in January.

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