As IJR previously reported, Amash announced his support for the impeachment of President Trump, citing the findings of the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The congressman released several lengthy Twitter threads explaining his position, noting that he believes Mueller’s description of Trump’s behavior warranted obstruction of justice charges and the eventual impeachment of President Trump, making him the only Republican to publically announce that position.
Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
This move prompted several Republicans to condemn Amash, including several members of the House Freedom Caucus — a caucus of which he was a founding member. As IJR previously reported, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) claimed that no other members of the caucus felt the same way as Amash, telling reporters:
“We had a good discussion and every single member, I think now based on who was there and our board meeting was probably over 30 members, every single member disagrees and strongly with the position Justin took over the week, and we’re focused on the now.”
This fracture between the Freedom Caucus and Amash likely led to his decision to leave the caucus. Amash told CNN’s Haley Byrd, “I have the highest regard for them, and they’re my close friends. I didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”
Rep. Justin Amash tells me he stepped down from the House Freedom Caucus and the HFC board tonight.
“I have the highest regard for them, and they’re my close friends,” Amash said. “I didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) June 11, 2019
As Jordan noted at the time, the Freedom Caucus has been focused on investigating the origins of the probe into President Trump’s campaign, especially the process used by the FBI to get the FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. If that is the caucus’ main goal, it makes sense as to why Amash would see himself as a “distraction for the group.”
Several people took to Twitter to react to Amash’s exit from the caucus. His exit was met with mixed reactions, with some criticizing the Freedom Caucus and others supporting Amash’s exit:
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 11, 2019
A thought, concerning Justin Amash's departure from the House Freedom Caucus. When I was coming of age, the Left was ruthlessly conformist: It was their way or the highway. Conservatives were looser, more liberal (genuinely so). There is a new conformism on the right — terrible.
— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) June 11, 2019
Justin Amash has resigned from the House Freedom Caucus.
That's a great first step!
Now, resign from Congress & let's replace Amash with a Republican who actually cares that @realDonaldTrump was illegally spied on.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) June 11, 2019