WASHINGTON – The lone Republican to call for President Donald Trump to be impeached said he has left the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus.
“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 (Mich.) told CNN on Monday.
Amash is one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus. The informal group was established in 2015 and consists of about 30 GOP lawmakers.
The caucus voted to condemn Amash last month after he tweeted that Trump had engaged in “impeachable conduct.” Amash has since doubled-down on that claim. On Friday, he posted several tweets about the White House’s evolving reaction to Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Amash said “Mueller’s report is damning for the president” and accused the president and his allies of “trying to excuse Trump’s efforts to obstruct the entire investigation into Russian election interference…”
Trump and House GOP leaders have largely dismissed Amash as an outlier with minimal influence in the party.
Amash is a libertarian-Republican. He has often bucked the GOP on issues related to civil liberties and foreign policy. Amash is included among several Republican lawmakers who refused to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.
Amash’s call for impeachment was praised by many Democrats, some of whom now claim they have bipartisan support for the effort.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has eschewed talk of impeachment.
TMN spoke with two GOP lawmakers about Amash’s departure from the caucus.
Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), who is a member of the group, declined to comment.
Rep. Thomas Massie (Ky.), who relayed that he is often mistaken as a member of the group, said he is not concerned about Amash leaving.
“I think Justin is still going to be a strong contributor to the conservative side of the Republican conference.”