GOP Rep. Justin Amash quits Freedom Caucus after Trump impeachment stance
Conservative group voted to condemn his remarks after that called the president’s actions impeachable
Rep. Justin Amash is an outlier among congressional Republicans according to the party’s leader in the House.
“Justin Amash can determine his own future, but I think in philosophical basis he’s probably in a different place than the majority of the conference,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said to reporters on Tuesday, citing Amash’s breaks from Republican-majority votes.
Amash resigned from the conservative House Freedom Caucus he helped found Monday, facing the possibility of being ousted after it voted to condemn his remarks on impeachment.
Amash made headlines when he stated in May that the president had “engaged in impeachable conduct” after the release of the full redacted report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — the only Republican in Congress to stake a pro-impeachment stance.
“I have the highest regard for them, and they’re my close friends,” the Michigan Republican told CNN. “I didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.”
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, another co-founder of the group, told Fox News Monday night that Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Amash came to a mutual agreement for his departure after several conversations.
Jordan told Fox’s Laura Ingraham the group’s members still considered Amash a friend, but their disagreements were “sharp.”
The Freedom Caucus made its reputation as a band of small government warriors drawn from the tea party movement that moved the Republican caucus to the right. Amash helped found the group of about three dozen lawmakers in 2015.
But Caucus leaders like Jordan and Meadows have become more known in recent years as staunch defenders of President Donald Trump.
Amash told his hometown paper in April that he planned to run for his seat again next year but he would not rule out a presidential run on a libertarian ticket.
Two challengers have filed paperwork to run against Amash in the Republican primary since he announced his stance on impeachment: State Rep. Jim Lower and National Guard veteran Tom Norton.