Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) has decided to quit the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) after making comments in support of moving forward with impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
Amash posted on Twitter in May saying that after reading the Mueller report he believes the president engaged in “impeachable conduct.” He also accused Attorney General William Barr of “deliberately misrepresenting” the findings of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Freedom Caucus previously voted to condemn the Michigan Republican’s remarks last month, but the group opted not to force him out despite a divide amongst members. Members of the caucus have repeatedly made it clear that Amash’s voice did not represent their opinions on the matter. They clearly asserted they do not believe there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin or any attempts by the president to obstruct the Mueller investigation.
Pressure to oust the congressman began to mount after Amash, a founding member, failed to alert the group he planned to make his position on impeachment public, blindsiding his colleagues.
“They called a special board meeting last Tuesday to continue discussing next steps, including removal. Amash was in attendance (at one point he was asked to step out of the room)” a source with knowledge of the conversations said.
“This was the maneuver the group landed on – telling him to bow out gracefully while stopping the political hemorrhaging, especially since he wasn’t overly involved in the operation this Congress,” the source added. “At the end of the day, HFC isn’t in the business of booting out members. There’s too much mutual respect, and for many, the differences of opinion is what makes the group unique compared to others.”
Members of the Freedom Caucus have served as some of Trump’s strongest defenders in Congress. They continue to stand by the president as momentum builds within the Democratic party to impeach the president.
Amash is expected to face a well-funding primary challenge, with at least one challenger, Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower (R), having announced his intentions to run against the incumbent in the wake of comments.