Republican Rep. Justin Amash has walked away from the conservative House Freedom Caucus weeks after calling for President Trump’s impeachment.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said in an appearance on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle Monday night that Amash and chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) had made the decision to split amicably. Amash stated he did not want to be a “further distraction for the group” and insisted he continues to hold the caucus in “the highest regard.”
Make no mistake, however, that this mutual parting of the ways stems from Amash’s misguided (to be kind) accusations that President Trump committed impeachable offenses, something the Mueller report and the Justice Department have cleared him of.
Weeks ago, the Representative from Michigan published a Twitter thread which came to various meandering conclusions on the Russia collusion investigation, chief among them being that “Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct” because the President had “violated the public trust.”
The comments were reprehensible, and a shifting of goalposts typically associated with the Democrat party, not a so-called conservative.
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
Backlash Against Amash
President Trump responded to Amash’s allegations by hammering him as an individual simply seeking attention off of his name.
“Never a fan of [Amash],” he tweeted, “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.”
Amash couldn’t even muster support from other anti-Trump members of the GOP, with Mitt Romney even rejecting his calls for impeachment.
The controversy led to a primary challenge from Republican Michigan State Rep. Jim Lower.
“Congressman Justin Amash tweets … calling for President Trump’s impeachment show how out of touch he is with the truth and how out of touch he is with people he represents,” Lower said. “He must be replaced and I am going to do it.”
Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019
At a town hall meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, weeks ago, Amash was blasted by a Trump supporter over his unfounded comments.
“You talk about the Constitution and how important that is, but yet nothing that Mueller came out with in this report, nothing that has been said about him and President Trump is constitutional and has been a smear tactic because that’s how the Democrats work,” one woman argued.
— Marvis Herring (@Marvis_WOODTV8) May 28, 2019
Amash has responded to his detractors by insisting his conservative credentials remain strong. He noted that he has “one of the most constitutionally conservative and fiscally conservative” voting records in Congress.
That said, Amash has clearly experienced a change in thinking that the House Freedom Caucus can no longer support.
Earlier this year, he sided with Democrats by claiming President Trump’s national emergency declaration to secure funding for the border wall was unconstitutional.
He then bizarrely voted with the opposition party in support of allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote.
In May, another House Freedom Caucus member, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, questioned Amash and his conservative record.
“He’s been in Congress quite some time. I think he’s asked one question in all the committees that he’s been in,” McCarthy chided. “He votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me. It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole.”
It was clearly time for Amash to go.