Despite blowback, Amodei says he’s comfortable talking impeachment, but is guarded with national media

After a contentious interview with a national reporter, Rep. Mark Amodei insisted Tuesday he is comfortable talking about his views on the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Amodei, who was denied chairmanship of Trump’s re-election campaign in Nevada after saying he had an open mind on the House’s oversight role, added that he does not feel pressure to vote against a Democratic impeachment resolution. Amodei said he wants to review the resolution before deciding how to vote, but indicated he is likely a ‘no.’ He echoed most Republicans that the vote does not redeem the flawed process. 

“If it’s basically trying to put a raincoat on after you’ve been standing in a thunderstorm for an hour, obviously I’m not going to say well, ‘we’re not wet, the raincoat cures everything,’” Amodei said. 

Unveiled Tuesday, the resolution would lay out the procedures for public impeachment inquiry hearings, including authorizing redacted transcripts of closed-door depositions, allowing for up to 45 minutes per side to accommodate questioning of witnesses by committee staff counsel and allowing the president’s legal team to cross-examine witnesses before the Judiciary Committee, which is directed to review the evidence and write articles of impeachment, if necessary. 

On whether he feels pressure about discussing impeachment generally, Amodei said “No, I don’t feel any pressure.”

He did, however, note that he is more guarded with national media outlets, as opposed to Nevada media outlets, over a concern that his position will be misrepresented.

His comments came after he was asked by CNN on Monday evening whether he thought it was proper for Trump to ask the Ukrainian president in a July 25 phone call to investigate Vice President Joe Biden, a potential political opponent, and his son in exchange for releasing military aid to the nation. 

“The substance of the things that have come out is that the President asked for a public investigation into his rivals and also Ukraine aid was being withheld,” CNN asked Amodei summing up the testimony of recent witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.

“That’s your conclusion,” Amodei shot back.

Amodei—who has characterized the summary of the call and a related whistleblower complaint as regrettable, though he has held back on drawing any conclusion on impeachment—said he disagreed with the premise of the question and that’s why he did not answer it directly.

“Listen, everybody’s got their job to do and I get it,” Amodei said. “But when the question starts out, ‘Do you think it’s wrong,’ which is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, I said ‘I disagree with the premise.’”

Amodei hearkened back to when he first laid out his position in September, which was taken by some to be support for impeachment, rather than just an oversight inquiry. He subsequently issued a statement clarifying his position. 

“It’s one of those things where it’s made me more cautious” with national media, Amodei said. “We’re not even going down that road where you get to pick that question. If I don’t agree with the premise of the question, I’m not responding to it.”

His comments also come as Trump has urged Republicans to pivot from their attack on the legitimacy of the process and defend the substance of the allegations. Democrats contend that Trump abused his office by pressing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election, withheld military aid and a White House meeting to the country as leverage and sought to cover up his actions. 

Amodei also spoke with Fox News Monday evening and reiterated his position. 

“I’m real comfortable with where I’m at,” Amodei said. “I said I’d follow the facts, and apply the rules to them, and vote accordingly.”

The congressman believes misrepresentation of his position in September by national media caused Trump’s re-election campaign to pass him over for Nevada chairman for the 2020 effort, a position he held in 2016. 

In a statement issued last week, Amodei blamed “a fake news story from a few weeks ago” that spurred the campaign to act.

“What the fake news was, not you guys, but the guys who took your stuff and said Amodei is for impeachment,” he said Tuesday.

He also believes the coverage led conservative Club for Growth to encourage former Attorney General Adam Laxalt to run against Amodei in the GOP primary.

He called the poll that the conservative group released a “push poll,” a strategy used by campaigns and political groups to manipulate the results while seeking to maintain the appearance of legitimacy.

He made light of the fact that on the key question, he still won 26 percent of the vote. The poll said his support dropped to 26 percent from 35 percent when “Republican primary voters learn that Mark Amodei supports the House inquiry into impeaching President Trump.” Amodei has raised concerns about the inquiry process. 

“The fact that there was 26 percent that said they’d still vote for me is like a huge victory,” he said.