The House Freedom Caucus on Monday evening formally denounced Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), one of the group’s founding members, over his recent remarks regarding President Donald Trump and impeachment.
House Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-OH), who previously served as chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters that all 30 members in attendance of the caucus’s weekly meeting voted to condemn the libertarian-leaning Michigan congressman. “It was every single person who totally disagrees with what he says,” said Jordan. “What concerns me is Justin was viewed as a leader, right, on protecting privacy rights first to First Amendment rights.”
The conservative lawmakers were said to have taken turns expressing frustration over comments made by Amash, who claimed special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on now-debunked collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia had shown President Trump committing “impeachable” offenses. He also accused Attorney General William Barr of mischaracterizing Mueller’s findings.
“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meets the threshold for impeachment,” Amash tweeted on Saturday. The lawmaker then contended that the report “identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.”
On Monday, Amash doubled down on his impeachment remarks, stating those who assert President Trump did not commit any crimes are relying on “several falsehoods,” then asserting that the Mueller Report shows an “underlying crime” that Trump was attempting to obstruct. Mueller’s team conclusively stated that there was no underlying crime of collusion with foreign nationals; that conspiracy theory only continues to live on in the fever swamps of far-left pundits and celebrities.
Amash’s comments were met with fierce blowback from top Republicans, including the president himself, who hit back at the Michigan congressman in a pair of tweets Sunday. “Never a fan of @justinamash, 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, the president said. “Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents [sic] hands!”
In an interview with the Fox News Channel, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA ) said Amash drummed up talk of impeachment because he is an attention seeker. “You’ve got to understand Justin Amash. He’s been in Congress quite some time,” the Republican said. “I think he’s asked one question in all the committees that he’s been in. 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.”
Unsurprisingly, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) broke with Republicans in offering praise for Amash, branding his statements “courageous.” “I respect him. I think it’s a courageous statement,” Romney said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
Meanwhile, Amash’s remarks have earned him a primary challenge from a Michigan state representative.
Michigan State Rep. Jim Lower (R) on Monday announced he will try to unseat Amash, moving up the announcement in the wake of Amash’s comments.
“Congressman Justin Amash tweets yesterday 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,” said Lower, according to the Detroit Free Press. “He must be replaced and I am going to do it.”