Justin Amash Departs From House Freedom Caucus After Calling for Trump’s Impeachment

June 11, 2019 Updated: June 11, 2019

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) announced late June 10 that he was leaving the House Freedom Caucus, weeks after making comments in support of the Democrats’ call to impeach President Donald Trump.

“I have the highest regard for them, and they’re my close friends,” Amash told CNN’s Haley Byrd. “I didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”

He added that he had attended a House Freedom Caucus board meeting before House votes in order to inform them about his plans to step down.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who is a member of the Freedom Caucus, confirmed the news in an interview on Fox News‘ “Ingraham Angle” on June 10, saying that his departure arose from a mutual agreement between Meadows and Amash. The Ohio congressman added that the Republicans still consider Amash as a friend but are not able to see past their “sharp” disagreement.

Amash’s decision to leave the group, which he helped establish, comes weeks after he became the only Republican congressman to call for Trump’s impeachment. He accused Trump of “impeachable conduct” in a series of messages on Twitter last month, calling on Congress to impeach the president.

The Michigan congressman said he came to his conclusion after reading the report by special counsel Robert Mueller. The report, which was released on April 18, found that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also decided not to file an obstruction of justice charge against the president.

Along with making accusations against Trump, Amash also alleged that Attorney General William Barr intentionally misrepresented the principal conclusions of the special counsel report.

Amash’s remarks against Trump have angered many Republicans and fellow Michiganians. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, a fellow Michiganian, criticized Amash last month, saying that the congressman was “parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia,” reported the Washington Examiner.

At his town hall on May 28, several constituents in his district expressed disdain for the congressman’s conduct, including a former supporter of Amash, who engaged in a 5-minute heated exchange during the event.

“You rest safe in the knowledge … that [Trump] won’t be removed from office. So you get to make the political grandstanding that raises your national profile,” she told Amash. “You are now a national household name. That’s called political capital. And you are hoping to launch your star bigger and brighter than District 3.”

“You just talked about how you did better in District 3 than Trump. Do you want to talk about how the last election you got the least amount of support that you’ve ever had because you haven’t supported the MAGA agenda?” she added.

“It’s your right to support whatever you want, but you also know you have no future in this district because of that, as a Republican. So you want to go bigger and brighter,” the woman pointed out.

President Trump responded to Amash’s accusations and his decision to break ranks with the Republican party in order to score political points.

“Never a fan of [Justin Amash], a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy,” Trump wrote.

“If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, ‘composed’ by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump, he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION,” the president continued. “Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side?”

“Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents’ hands!” the president then concluded.

Mueller’s report, which was released in April, did not establish that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and it also did not reach a determination on whether Trump had obstructed justice.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan