Amash exits House Freedom Caucus in wake of Trump impeachment stance

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashHouse passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House votes against curtailing warrantless collection of Americans' data MORE (R-Mich.) has opted to quit the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) in the wake of his comments in support of moving forward with impeachment proceedings against President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE.

Amash said on Twitter in May that after reading the Mueller report he believes the president engaged in "impeachable conduct," also accusing Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Cummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question MORE of "deliberately misrepresenting" the findings of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Freedom Caucus previously voted to condemn the Michigan Republican’s remarks last month, but the group opted not to force him out despite a divide amongst members. Members have repeatedly made it clear Amash’s voice did not represent their opinions on the matter, asserting they do not believe there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin or any attempts by the president to obstruct the special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's investigation.

Pressure to kick the congressman out of the group began to mount after Amash, a founding member, failed to alert the group he planned to make his position on impeachment public,  blindsiding his colleagues.

“They called a special board meeting last Tuesday to continue discussing next steps, including removal. Amash was in attendance (at one point he was asked to step out of the room),” a source with knowledge of the conversations told The Hill.

“This was the maneuver the group landed on — telling him to bow out gracefully while stopping the political hemorrhaging, especially since he wasn’t overly involved in the operation this Congress," the source added. "At the end of the day, HFC isn't in the business of booting out members. There’s too much mutual respect, and for many, the differences of opinion is what makes the group unique compared to others.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus have served as some of Trump’s strongest defenders in Congress, continuing to stand by the president as momentum builds within the Democratic Party to impeach him.  

Trump has maintained that Mueller's investigation found "no collusion" and "no obstruction." Mueller did not establish the that Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government. He neither implicated nor exonerated the president on the matter of obstruction.

Amash is expected to face a well-funded primary challenge, with at least one challenger, Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower (R), having announced his intentions to run against the incumbent following the impeachment comments.

Updated on June 11 at 7:31 a.m.