The Democrat-controlled House shouldn’t have much trouble impeaching President Trump. After all, Democrats enjoy a 235-198 margin over Republicans, with one independent and one vacant seat.
But Democrats are looking to add some Republicans — and they may have just found one.
Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) has become the first House Republican to voice support for an impeachment inquiry into Trump — and he wants everyone to know.
In a conference call with reporters on Friday, Amodei said he won’t necessarily vote to impeach Trump, but he said the House should “put it through the process and see what happens.”
“I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes,” he said, according to audio of the call released by The Nevada Independent.
“Using government agencies to, if it’s proven, to put your finger on the scale of an election, I don’t think that’s right,” Amodei said. “If it turns out that it’s something along those lines, then there’s a problem.”
Amodei later pulled back on his remarks, issuing a statement after the Independent’s piece was published in which he said, “In no way, shape, or form did I indicate support for impeachment.”
“Amodei declined to say whether he believes Trump committed an impeachable offense, though he noted that his comments in the call were regrettable,” said the Independent.
“If it was my statement and I had the ability to do it over, I would probably phrase it differently,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s a smoking gun.”
“I think that’s why we have the committee process,” he added. “I won’t attribute what was in the president’s mind. That wasn’t a great way to express concern about it. Part of what the committees will do is try to find some context for that and then based on what a fair reading of the context is, they’ll go forward from there.”
The Nevada Republican dismissed the notion, raised by Trump, that the issue was raised by political enemies in the government looking for any reason to depose him. He noted that Trump has a reputation for coming out hard when he feels like he’s being attacked, but said the issue is one of law. “I don’t care if it was a partisan spy or not,” Amodei said. “The only thing I get a vote on is, if it comes to the House floor… do I think that there is evidence there that is credible, that says he broke a specific law?”
The endgame will take place is the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-45 margin over Democrats, with two independents. But to convict Trump and oust him from office, Democrats need a 2/3 majority, or 67 votes. That means Democrats need 22 extra votes to get to the magic number.
Some in the Senate may be convinceable. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has called Trump’s actions “troubling,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said the phone call with the Ukrainian president was “very concerning,” and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) has warned Republicans against “rushing to circle the wagons to say there’s no there there when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling there.”