An Army National Guard member announced Thursday that he will mount a primary challenge against Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) in the wake of the libertarian-leaning lawmaker’s remarks about President Donald Trump and impeachment.
Tom Norton, who previously served as village president of Kent County, joins Michigan State Rep. Jim Lower (R) in a bid to unseat Amash in the state’s 3rd Congressional District.
“I’m running to restore the seat to its first constitutional duty, which is to represent the people, defend America’s borders, support fair trade for the American people, and support our allies, including Israel,” Norton said in a statement to MLive.
He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and is currently a salesman for the company LeafFilter.
Norton revealed he filed in April — weeks prior to Amash’s remarks on impeachment — to run against the incumbent lawmaker in this summer’s Republican primary election.
Amash is under fire after becoming the first congressional Republican to accuse President Trump of “impeachable” offenses stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on now-debunked collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election, and further, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that the president did not obstruct justice based on the special counsel’s findings.
Nonetheless, Amash again gave his interpretation of Mueller’s findings on Thursday, alleging that some of President Trump’s actions were “inherently corrupt” and could be impeached for committing obstruction of justice.
“Mueller’s report describes a consistent effort by the president to use his office to obstruct or otherwise corruptly impede the Russian election interference investigation because it put his interests at risk,” Amash tweeted.
“President Trump had an incentive to undermine the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which included investigating contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign,” the Michigan congressman added, arguing that the Mueller investigation detailed “very unflattering information” about Trump and revealed crimes committed by his associates.
Top Republicans, including President Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have blasted back at Amash, calling him a “lightweight” and an attention-seeker. Even fellow libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has broken with Amash, saying that the Mueller investigation was the “antithesis of libertarianism.”
“I actually think the libertarian position on the investigation is ― you know, libertarians, we’ve been very, very critical of the intelligence community having too much power, including congressman Amash has said, you know, really you should have to get a warrant before you get an American’s records,” he told the Huffington Post.