Speed Reads

Goodbye

GOP Rep. Justin Amash quits House Freedom Caucus amid disagreements over Trump

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the only Republican lawmaker to call for President Trump's impeachment, quit the House Freedom Caucus on Monday night. It was apparently an amicable split. "I have the highest regard for them and they're my close friends," Amash told CNN. "I didn't want to be a further distraction for the group." Amash helped found the Freedom Caucus but he hadn't been to a caucus meeting all year until Monday night, when he showed up at a board meeting to announce his departure. "It was a positive meeting," he said. "It wasn't negative."

The Freedom Caucus was formed in 2015 to push Republican leadership to pursue more conservative policies, but it has since become a club led by some of Trump's staunchest defenders. Amash nearly quit the caucus last year after it declined to criticize Trump for attacking and trying to unseat one of its members, Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.). Sanford lost his primary to the Trump-backed opponent, and a Democrat ended up winning the seat in the general election. When Amash made his case for impeaching Trump last month, the Freedom Caucus voted to formally disagree with him but did not eject him from their ranks.

Amash, a 39-year-old libertarian, is still chairman of the lesser-known House Liberty Caucus, which traces its roots to former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).