New York CNN Business  — 

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Ever since Rep. Justin Amash posted his tweetstorm about the Mueller report on May 18, he has been described as the only Republican lawmaker to accuse President Trump of impeachable conduct. And that’s because he IS the only one in his party. He’s all alone on this. That’s why Tuesday’s scene at Grand Rapids Christian High School was nationally newsworthy.

Amash is not alone

Tuesday’s town hall showed that Amash has support. The visuals — of a standing ovation for Amash, of loud applause for his “boldness” — may advance the impeachment conversation another inch. Here’s the headline on Haley Byrd’s recap for CNN: “Amash greeted with a standing ovation at Michigan town hall.” Some attendees said many of the constituents in the crowd were Democrats. But Amash also engaged with people who were wearing MAGA apparel. These moments made the homepages of national news sites on Tuesday night.

→ The context: Conservative critics claim Amash is just trying to get attention by opposing Trump, but Amash has turned down every single interview request he has received. Tuesday’s town hall meeting “was Amash’s first major public appearance since May 18,” WaPo noted.

→ Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith tweeted: “A GOP Congressman got cheers from voters for standing up against the president and calling out his impeachable offenses with uncompromising language while Democratic leadership prayed for him, calling for centrism and caution. Amash is no hero, but this has to wake some folks up.”

→ CNN analyst Carrie Cordero: “The positive reaction to Amash’s truth telling about the Mueller Report underscores a view I’ve held since [the] 2016 campaign: outside observers and commentators can call out Trump’s rhetoric and actions, but an elected official with a constituency can have a far more powerful impact.”

This might be the most important thing Amash said

It came at the very end of Tuesday’s town hall. It was flagged by CNN’s Daniel Lewis. “My colleagues tell me all the time – in fact, you wouldn’t believe how many phone conversations I’ve had, or conversations in person with colleagues… A lot of them think I’m right about the Mueller report. And they just won’t say it. A lot of Republicans. What they’ll say to me is, Justin, you know, going out publicly with that, you know the Democrats will never support you. You know that they’re hypocrites on this stuff. And I say, you know, some of them are and some of them aren’t. It doesn’t matter to me. Because you have to look at what you’re doing first. You have to care about what you’re doing. If you have a society where all we care about is that the other side is bad, and therefore we don’t have to do the right thing, that society will break down, and you will have no liberty.” Amash concluded: “I refuse to be a part of that.”

→ Amash “seems to be making a case for impeachment stronger than many of your Democratic colleagues,” Don Lemon said to Eric Swalwell on “CNN Tonight…”

Comey’s newest op-ed is No. 1

This James Comey op-ed is No. 1 on WaPo’s most-read list right now. He argues that “we shouldn’t” ignore Trump’s rants because “millions of good people believe what a president of the United States says.”

Comey’s focus is on what he calls Trump’s “lies that the FBI was corrupt and committed treason, that we spied on the Trump campaign and tried to defeat Donald Trump.” He’s addressing the “Fox & Friends” and “Hannity” narrative head-on. “There is a reason the non-fringe media doesn’t spend much time on this ‘treason’ and ‘corruption’ business. The conspiracy theory makes no sense,” Comey writes… But “go ahead, investigate the investigators, if you must. When those investigations are over, you will find the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations. There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that. There were just good people trying to figure out what was true, under unprecedented circumstances.”

Speaking of figuring out what is true…

Fake letters to the editor?!

CNN’s Kevin Collier reports: “A pro-Iranian influence campaign created fake Facebook and Twitter accounts to push Tehran’s viewpoint in the US and succeeded in having a number of American newspapers publish their letters, according to new research published Tuesday.”

The research came from FireEye, a threat intelligence company, which asserted that manufactured identities/accounts “succeeded in having letters to the editor published in American newspapers at least 13 times in the past year.” The study’s author, Lee Foster, “was careful to stress that his research only showed that the campaign was coordinated to support Iran’s goals, and stopped short of tying it to the Iranian government.”

→ In response to FireEye’s research, Facebook said “we can prove” that the operation was conducted inside Iran. FB announced that it has removed “51 accounts, 36 pages, and seven groups, as well as three Instagram accounts that it believed were part of the same campaign…”


– Kamala Harris declined a Fox town hall invite “and instead did MSNBC” on Tuesday night, “allowing her to make essentially every point she might want to — largely uninterrupted,” Christopher Cadelago noted… (Twitter)

– A great read from Aaron Mak: Trump’s Wikipedia entry “is a war zone” where editors fight “a brutal, petty battle over every word…” (Slate)

– The Trump Make America Great Again Committee “sponsored Tuesday’s episode of The Laura Ingraham Podcast,” Jeremy Barr wrote. Fox’s response: “Laura Ingraham’s podcast is run independently of Fox News and we have nothing to do with its sponsorships…” (THR)

Remembering Tony Horwitz

“Tony Horwitz, whose vivid stories about working-class Americans won him a Pulitzer Prize at The Wall Street Journal before he became a best-selling history author, died at age 60 while on a tour for his latest book,” the WSJ’s William Power wrote Tuesday. “A Northerner with a deep fascination for the South, Mr. Horwitz is remembered as one of the most talented Journal writers of the past 35 years. In addition to covering wars as a foreign correspondent, he won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1995 for articles about working conditions in low-wage America.”

After his years at the WSJ, Horwitz joined The New Yorker. His former colleague Jill Lepore wrote on Tuesday about his “singular voice, full of compassion and delight and wry observations and self-deprecating humor—layers that covered but never obscured his deep and abiding moral seriousness about the task of the historian as the conscience of a nation.”

Horwitz was in Washington to promote his newest book, “Spying on the South,” when he “collapsed while walking near his brother’s home,” per the Post. Deepest condolences to his many loved ones, friends and admirers.

This year’s Pulitzer luncheon

The 2019 winners assembled for an awards luncheon at Columbia University on Tuesday… Jennifer Hudson surprised the crowd with a performance honoring Aretha Franklin…


By An Phung:

– “To the shrinking community of critical journalists in Iran, the message is clear: Those in power will do whatever it takes to silence them,” Jason Rezaian wrote in his latest column highlighting Iran’s increasing control of the press… (WaPo)

– Glenn Greenwald weighs in on the charges against Julian Assange: “The Trump administration has undoubtedly calculated that Assange’s uniquely unpopular status across the political spectrum makes him the ideal test case for creating a precedent that criminalizes the defining attributes of investigative journalism. Now every journalist and every citizen must decide whether their personal animus toward Assange is more important than preserving press freedom in the United States.” (WaPo)

Read more of Tuesday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

– Erik Wemple’s latest: The “Assange indictment casts pall over journalists ‘encouraging’ sources…” (WaPo)