Republican Representative Justin Amash is stepping down from his position with the House Freedom Caucus amid the fallout after he called for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Amash made the announcement of his voluntary departure on Monday at a Freedom Caucus board meeting, Fox News reported.
Amash said during his remarks that he didn’t want to be a ‘further distraction’ for the influential conservative caucus.
A few weeks ago, the Michigan lawmaker became the only Republican in Congress to openly argue that Trump had committed impeachable offenses. He made the accusations in a lengthy Twitter thread.
‘Some of the president’s actions were inherently corrupt. Other actions were corrupt—and therefore impeachable—because the president took them to serve his own interests,’ Amash posted on May 23.
Jim Jordan, a Republican representative from Ohio, and a member of the Freedom Caucus, told Fox on Monday that Amash mutually came to the decision to step aside with the caucus’s chairman, Mark Meadows.
Amash had come under fire from those within his party, and especially the president, after he sided with Democrats who have increased calls for Trump’s impeachment after the publication of the Russia report.
‘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,’ Trump posted to Twitter in response to Amash’s call for impeachment.
‘Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!’ he continued.
Although more than 50 Democrats in Congress have called for Trump’s impeachment, no Republicans – until Amash – had agreed.
Calls for impeachment proceedings increased after Mueller delivered remarks at the Department of Justice last month and said his report is his testimony. He also said he did not charge Trump because it is longstanding DOJ protocol to not charge a sitting president with a federal crime.
Democrats claimed this was basically Mueller telling them it was up to Congress to bring charges against the president and impeach him.
A redacted version of Mueller’s 448-page was made public in April, a few weeks after Attorney General Bill Barr classified the report in a four-page memo that claimed it found Trump had committed no crimes.
The report did not find evidence that Trump had conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 elections, but did outline a handful of ‘episodes’ that were potential grounds for obstruction.
Democrats say this is enough to impeach Trump, and Amash accused Barr of intentionally misrepresenting Mueller’s report.
About a week after taking a stance on impeachment, Amash held a town hall with constituents in Michigan.
Amash fielded mixed reviews from about 800 audience members at the event in Grand Rapids.
For more than two hours that evening, Amash took questions from audience members at the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship at Grand Rapids Christian High School.
The majority of attendees peppered the congressman about Mueller’s Russia report and the congressman’s analysis of the document.
Although many of the audience members applauded the congressman with standing ovations on his courage in calling for Trump’s impeachment, others accused him of switching political parties.
‘How can you become a Democrat when we voted you in as a Republican?’ 57-year-old Diane Luke, who was wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, questioned, adding she was disappointed in Amash.