Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo appears to have been the first Republican member of Congress to publicly suggest it might rise to an impeachable offense — obstruction of justice — if President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s Russia ties.
Curbelo acknowledged the possibility of impeachment when speaking to Capitol Hill reporters Tuesday afternoon, and later repeated it Tuesday night on CNN.
“I was just being honest,” Curbelo said Wednesday in an interview with the Miami Herald, in which he called impeachment still “premature.” “Any effort to impede or interfere with a federal investigation is by definition obstruction of justice, and there’s precedent for the House to consider obstruction of justice an impeachable offense.”
The distinction of being the first Republican to raise impeachment didn’t come up until Michigan Rep. Justin Amash made similar comments Wednesday.
The Hill, a Washington publication, identified Amash as the first Republican to mention impeachment after the New York Times reported Tuesday about a Comey memo recounting Trump’s request.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey, according to Comey’s notes recounted to the Times.
Curbelo’s office had to point out to The Hill that the Miami congressman had actually beat Amash to it. That prompted an update to The Hill’s story — and a correction in a Mother Jones story that had cited The Hill.
Photo credit: Cliff Owen, Associated Press